EXCLUSIVE: Apple has landed Are You Sleeping, a thriller drama series project starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help, Hidden Figures), which hails from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. The recently launched scripted drama venture between Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content is the studio.
Are You Sleeping, created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified) based on true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber, has been put in development at Apple’s video programming unit headed by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. Like other streaming platforms, Apple’s slate is expected to feature projects it snags with straight-to-series orders — like the recently greenlighted morning show drama starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, the Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg and Bryan Fuller and a Ronald D. Moore space drama — as well as projects it takes in to develop for straight-to-series consideration.
Are You Sleeping provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage. Sarah Koenig, host, creator and producer of the true-crime podcast phenomenon Serial, whose breakout success helped fuel that obsession, is on board to consult on the series.
Are You Sleeping is executive produced by Spencer via her Orit Entertainment, Tramble as well as Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter for Hello Sunshine, and Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo for Chernin Entertainment.
Are You Sleeping marks the second project Apple has commissioned from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, joining the morning show drama executive produced by and starring Witherspoon and Aniston, which has received a two-season order. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA.
Following her Oscar-winning performance in The Help and her Oscar-nominated turn in Hidden Figures, Spencer is currently seen in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. She is repped by WME.
Spellman and her husband, fellow writer, Malcolm Spellman, have been attached to Confederate, Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’s controversial slavery-themed followup series for HBO. She is repped by WME and Industry Entertainment.
Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content — the unit that combined WME and IMG’s scripted television and film financing and sales groups — launched their venture two months ago with the goal to finance, develop and create premium scripted drama series with international appeal for all distribution platforms.
Barber is repped by CAA and Fletcher & Company.