EXCLUSIVE: Apple is developing Little America, a half-hour anthology series from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the Oscar-nominated writers of indie hit The Big Sick, SMILF executive producer Lee Eisenberg, Master of None co-creator/executive producer Alan Yang and Universal Television.
Written by Eisenberg, who will serve as showrunner, Nanjiani and Gordon, Little America is based on the true stories featured in Epic Magazine and described on the site as “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself.” The TV series will go beyond the headlines to look at the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and unexpected lives of immigrants in America, at a time when their stories are more relevant than ever.
Nanjiani and Yang, who likely will tap into their families’ immigrant experiences for the project, executive produce alongside Eisenberg and Gordon. Joshuah Bearman and Joshua Davis will executive produce for Epic Magazine; Arthur Spector will co-executive produce. Uni TV, where Yang is under an overall deal, is the studio.
Apple’s slate is a mix of straight-to-series orders as well as projects, which are being developed for straight-to-series consideration.
Little America is taking the latter route, joining drama Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer. Straight-to-series orders include a morning show drama starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, which has a two-season pickup, an Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg, a Ronald D. Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle series, a comedy starring Kristin Wiig, world-building drama See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, as well as docuseries Home from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver.
Written by husband-and-wife duo Nanjiani and Gordon, directed by Michael Showalter and produced by Judd Apatow, The Big Sick premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the highest-grossing indie movie of 2017 while also garnering critical acclaim. In addition to an Oscar nomination, Nanjiani and Gordon’s script also has received a WGA Award nomination.
Nanjiani is an actor-comedian who also starred in The Big Sick and co-stars on the HBO popular comedy series Silicon Valley. Last October, he made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut. He will next be seen in Universal’s untitled buddy cop comedy opposite John Cena.
Gordon will next pen the film adaptation of the Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s bestselling novel The Nest for Amazon, with Jill Soloway and Andrea Sperling producing. She has written for The Carmichael Show on NBC, Another Period on Comedy Central, and Crashing on HBO.
Eisenberg is executive producer of Showtime’s breakout hit, Golden Globe-nominated comedy series SMILF. With frequent collaborator Gene Stupnitsky, Eisenberg has executive produced Trophy Wife, Bad Teacher — based on the movie the duo wrote — and Hello Ladies, which he co-created alongside Stupnitsky and Stephen Merchant. Eisenberg make his feature directorial debut with Good Boys, which he co-wrote with Stupnitsky, set up with Seth Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures and Good Universe.
In addition to Master Of None, which reflects the immigrant family experience of as its co-creators Yang and Aziz Ansari, Yang also has a high-profile new comedy series for Amazon via Uni TV starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen.
Nanjiani and Gordon are repped by UTA and Mosaic. Eisenberg is repped by WME and Mosaic. Yang is with WME. Epic Magazine is repped by UTA and Anonymous Content.