The miniseries, titled "Freedom Run," will be written by B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright and will present three stories inspired by real-life histories.
"The book 'Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad' depicts one of the greatest mass escapes in recorded history through a collection of gritty, largely untold true love stories about ordinary men and women, slave and free, black and white, who risked everything to be together, fighting for love in a time of hate," press notes state. "Their astounding escapes simultaneously contributed to, characterized and helped create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a heroic rebellion of epic proportions."
Stevie Wonder will serve as an executive producer along with Swibel, Westbrook, Randolph-Wright, Tara Smith and Brian LaRoda.
DeRamus' book is also in development for a stage musical from Broadway producer Tara Smith's Triptyk Studios, Brian LaRoda and Universal Stage Productions.
Swibel, Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright will write the book, and Wonder will compose the score. "We're increasingly looking for projects that qualify as television events and these harrowing true stories of courageous young men and women who found love, in spite of the heinousness of slavery, certainly does that," Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment said in a statement. "Furthermore, the idea of also developing this into a Broadway musical with Stevie Wonder is very exciting as we look to expand the scope of our live stage business. We're thrilled that these producers wanted to bring this important project to us."
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, DeRamus' research is based on a myriad of previously untapped sources, including anecdotes from descendants of runaway slave couples, unpublished memoirs, court records and Civil War records.