Anthony Sparks hails from Chicago’s South Side and has worked in television over the last 19 seasons and professionally in the performing arts for 30 years. A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in television, theatre and film, Sparks served as the longtime Showrunner, Head Writer, and Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed OWN/Warner Bros. television drama, Queen Sugar. Queen Sugar, created by filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey, just completed currently airing its sixth season. Sparks has been a key writer and producer with the show since its inception.
In addition to Queen Sugar, Sparks is also currently an Executive Producer and writer on the highly anticipated 2022 HULU limited series, Iron Mike, about the controversial life and times of boxer Mike Tyson. Sparks is also concurrently developing several new series with Blumhouse Television, where he recently signed an overall First Look Deal, and is also working with Endeavor Content and Legendary Studios on new television and streaming dramas.
It was also recently announced that Sparks will create, showrun, and executive produce a scripted drama inspired by the Detroit Youth Choir, which rose to prominence on America’s Got Talent in 2019. Sparks is writing and developing this show for the Disney+ streaming network.
Other writer/producer credits include The Blacklist (NBC), the J.J. Abrams series Undercovers (NBC), the groundbreaking Lincoln Heights (Freeform) and The District (CBS).
Before embracing television, Sparks started his career in theatre. He performed at prestigious theatres such as The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival and Crossroads Theatre. He also performed a lead role for over five years in New York in the hit theatre show STOMP, before garnering the attention of television executives with one of his acclaimed plays, Ghetto Punch.
In late 2020, Sparks was honored with the Television Academy Honors Award for his work as showrunner on Queen Sugar’s critically acclaimed fourth season. Sparks has also been nominated for two NAACP Image Awards as the executive producer and showrunner of Queen Sugar and he has four NAACP Image Awards nominations for his writing over the last 12 years. He has received three nominations for Outstanding Television Drama Writing (in 2008, 2017 and 2018) and he was also nominated for a 2017 NAACP Image Award for his first book, Running the Long Race in Gifted Education. Sparks has also received two writing awards from the Norman Lear Center.
Sparks holds a BFA degree in theatre, and MA and PhD degrees in American Studies & Ethnicity, all from the University of Southern California. Sparks received the Jack Nicholson Award, LeVar Burton Award and Doolittle Associates Award while an undergraduate at USC and the Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship while pursuing graduate work at USC.
Dr. Sparks is also a cutting-edge scholar of media, performance studies, and African American politics and culture. He has consulted and written for Disney Imagineering and, when time allows, he has mentored and taught screenwriting, ethnic and cultural studies at Cal State Fullerton, Occidental College and USC. He currently serves on the boards of the Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society initiative, the Collins & Katz Family YMCA, and the USC School of Dramatic Arts.
Anthony Sparks is based in Los Angeles, where he is married to actor-director and USC School of Dramatic Arts professor and Associate Dean, Anita Dashiell-Sparks. They live in Los Angeles and are working hard to raise their three young children.