HBO will air "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," directed by Academy Award winner Anthony Minghella and starring Jill Scott, and will then expand the two-hour film into a TV series with 13 additional one-hour episodes.

Based on the best-selling novels by Alexander McCall Smith, Scott stars as Precious Ramotswe, a Botswanan detective whose cases generally involve more gossip and community intrigue than gore. Tony winners Anika Noni Rose and John Kani co-star.

It's the first major role for Grammy winner Scott, who previously had parts in "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" and "Hounddog."

The film was a co-production between The Weinstein Company and the BBC; HBO has the U.S. and Canadian TV and home video rights, while the BBC has the rights for TV distribution in the U.K. The Weinstein Company retains distribution in all other international territories, and will shop "Agency" at MIP in April.

The screenplay was written by Minghella and Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a Funeral") who executive produces alongside producers Sydney Pollack, Timothy Bricknell for Mirage Enterprises and Amy Moore for Cinechicks.

The original two-hour movie was filmed in Botswana last year, and filming of the television series will begin this summer.

"Particularly fascinating to me was working and filming in an African country where old and new are currently coexisting, where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and efficiencies and neuroses of the modern," says Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing "The English Patient." "It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa, and not what we think we can teach it."