Deadline reports that Debra Martin Chase (Sparkle) will be producing The Black Calhouns, a miniseries for ABC that chronicles the story of one African American family against the backdrop of major events in American history. The project is based on The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family, a family history book written by Gail Lumet Buckley, daughter of the legendary entertainer Lena Horn, and has been optioned by ABC Signature Studios.

The Black Calhouns is the epic saga of six generations of the Buckley family, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African American clan family from the beginning of Reconstruction through the civil rights movement.

Buckley begins the story starting with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, she follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. Through the lens of her relatives’ momentous lives, Buckley examines major events throughout American history. From Atlanta during Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, and then from World War II to the Civil Rights Movement, this family witnessed and participated in the most crucial events of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Martin Chase will serve as executive producer alongside Howard Rosenman.  Amy Lumet, Buckley’s daughter, will serve as a producer with Charles Pugliese of Martin Chase Prods. Buckley be brought on as a consultant for the project.


Martin Chase is also in the process of developing a legal drama for TNT titled Conviction alongside Viola Davis, inspired by Kym Worthy, the second African American to serve as a county prosecutor in Michigan.  Worthy is the chief prosecutor in Wayne County, Michigan and known for being the toughest woman in Detroit.  Martin Chase will serve as the executive producer of the project alongside co-executive producer Ayanna Floyd (Empire) who will also be writing the script.