During Amazon’s Television Critics Association, it was announced that Amazon Studios has signed Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer and actor Lena Waithe to an overall deal.
She will work with Amazon Studios to create and produce original series which will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. This isn’t Waithe’s first work with Amazon, she’s producing the upcoming horror anthology series, THEM at Amazon from Little Marvin.
“Lena is a powerhouse writer and producer who also has a gift for identifying exciting and authentic voices,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Our upcoming series THEM is the result of her rare ability to cultivate brilliant voices like Little Marvin and bring his wholly original and compelling vision to Amazon. We look forward to collaborating with Lena and her team for years to come.”
“I couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership with Amazon Studios and am looking forward to this next chapter,” said Waithe. “Both of our goals are aligned in that we want to continue elevating storytellers who are underrepresented and have a unique vision of the world.”
Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions upcoming slate includes Waithe’s feature film writing debut Queen & Slim, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, directed by Melina Matsoukas, Twenties, which she created and wrote for BET, HBO’s Untitled Kid Fury Project; and Showtime’s How to Make Love to a Black Woman. She is the creator and executive producer of the Showtime drama series The Chi, which will return for a third season next year, as well as BET’s Boomerang which is returning for a second season next year.
During the TCA panel, it was also announced that Amazon has inked a first-look deal with Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions.
“Significant Productions, fueled by the vision of Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi, has given a platform to emerging talent and created brilliant, critically acclaimed, and commercially successful projects across film and television,” said Albert Cheng, COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios. “We are looking forward to working with Significant Productions as they continue to develop fresh voices to tell even more important, inclusive stories.”
“Teaming up with Amazon Studios for our producing endeavors in television empowers us to amplify what we’ve been building these last nine years. Championing inclusive stories as wells as diverse talent and creators is in our DNA, and creating cultural impact is our brand. Having Albert Cheng, Vernon Sanders and Jennifer Salke in our corner is truly remarkable. We’re thrilled to join the extraordinary roster of talent at the studio,” said Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi in a joint statement.
Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi have recently produced the films Fruitvale Station, Dope, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Roxanne Roxanne and Sorry To Bother You. They are producing Godfather of Harlem, also starring Whitaker, which will premiere on EPIX this fall.
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