Nat Geo Orders 'The Black 22s' Pilot

National Geographic Channel has ordered a pilot script for the David Oyelowo-helmed The Black 22s, the network said Tuesday.

The Black 22s (working title) focuses on the first all-black police squad based in St. Louis that battled Prohibition-era crime while being set up to fail by their own bosses during one of the most racially charged times in history, said network officials.

Oyelowo (Selma) will serve as executive producer of the series along with  Paul Guyot (TNT’s The Librarians) John Rogers (The Librarians) and Jennifer Court. Guyot will pen the pilot script and serve as showrunner for the series.

"This pitch gave me goosebumps from beginning to end. It is a moving, muscular and resonant story that perfectly exemplifies the adage that truth is stranger and more compelling than fiction,” said executive vice president of global scripted programming & production, Carolyn Bernstein. “It also represents the kind of timely and provocative storytelling that I hope will become a hallmark of Nat Geo’s new scripted initiative."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.