The Emperor of Ocean Park, a brand new scripted series written by Film alumnus Sherman Payne ’10 and co-produced by John Wells Productions and Warner Brothers, has been greenlit and now officially gone into development. The series was recently announced by MGM+ as part of their new slate of content for the year.
The Emperor of Ocean Park is a suspenseful take on Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling novel. Set in the worlds of D.C. politics, Ivy League academia, and the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, the series centers on Talcott Garland’s quiet life as an Ivy League law professor whose world is shattered when his father, Judge Oliver Garland, dies of an apparent heart attack. The nature of the judge’s death is questioned by Tal’s sister, Mariah, a former journalist and constant conspiracy theorist, who believes that the judge, a failed Black nominee to the Supreme Court, succumbed to foul play. Damian Marcano is attached to direct.
Sherman Payne is a screenwriter and producer, originally from Ohio, now living and working in LA. He attended Wright State University, where he received a BFA in Film Production, and later Columbia University, earning an MFA in Screenwriting. He has written projects for MTV, BET, The CW, Warner Bros. TV, Netflix, and Sony Pictures Classics, among others. In 2020, his debut feature film Charm City Kings premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded a special jury prize, and later aired on HBO Max. Currently, Payne is a writer and producer on Showtime's hit series Shameless.