Tika Sumpter excited about TV drama on Detroit

Actress, known for lead role in ‘The Haves and Have Nots,’ wants to produce, star in possible show

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

Tika Sumpter has her eye on Detroit.

The actress, best known for her roles in the movie “Southside with You” and the Tyler Perry OWN network drama “The Haves and the Have Nots,” said she hopes to executive produce “The 313.” It’s a drama about a Detroit City Council president, played by Sumpter, who becomes the mayor after a scandal ousts the previous administration.

“The 313” is currently in the early development stages. CBS is considering it for a possible pilot. If the Eye network green lights the series, the announcement would be made in early 2017, with production starting around spring, said Michael London, one of the producers behind “The 313.”

Tracy McMillan, who won a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on “Mad Men,” is penning the script and recently visited the city to get a sense of the culture.

“The idea originally came from Tika Sumpter,” London said. “After ‘Southside with You,’ which she also produced, she realized she had a great experience with that project and getting it made. That’s when she said, ‘I managed to get a movie made. If I could get a television show made, what would that be?’ ”

As it turns out, the 36-year-old New York native’s dream show would be set in the Motor City.

“She wanted the character to be someone like her, an African-American millennial who becomes mayor of a major metropolitan city,” London said. “Since Detroit feels like a place of great challenge, for a character like that, and also of great opportunity, she just went for it and chose Detroit. It’s a great American reduction story.”

London, whose producing credits include the HBO movie “Confirmation,” said shooting in Detroit also would be advantageous, thanks to the state’s film and television tax breaks.

The city’s laws also work for the premise of the show because if a Detroit mayor is removed or resigns, the city council president serves as the mayor until there is another election or a special election.

“Shooting in Detroit would certainly be our hope,” London said. “Right now, we’re figuring out what the story is going to be, who the primary characters are and the show’s message.”

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based TV critic and entertainment writer.