Mindy Kaling has signed an exclusive, long-term overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, leaving Universal TV where she had been for a decade and a half.
The studio landed The Mindy Project creator in a very competitive situation. She is among a slew of A-list writer-producers who have been seeking overall deals in the past month or so, sparking bidding wars among traditional studios and SVOD platforms that have sent prices through the roof.
No terms of her WBTVG deal are being revealed but I hear it is for six years and is worth about $8.5 million a year. It’s been a strong overall deal marketplace for female writer-producers, with Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan recently leaving her longtime studio home at 20th TV for a rich four-year overall pact at Universal TV, said to be comparable to Kaling’s in yearly compensation.
The two pacts follow the blockbuster new overall deal Sam Esmail recently inked with UCP.
Under her WBTVG pact, Kaling will develop, write and produce new TV projects — original comedy and drama series, longform/event series, unscripted programming, digital content and more — for all platforms. That includes broadcast networks, premium/pay and basic cable channels, and streaming/on-demand outlets.
Kaling’s production company, Kaling International, will produce her new series in association with Warner Bros. TV, Warner Horizon Scripted TV or the TV Group’s digital studio, Blue Ribbon Content. Warner Bros. International TV Distribution will distribute the programs around the world.
This is Kaling’s first deal outside of NBCU where she was a homegrown talent, coming out of the company’s diversity writing program, which led to her staff writer job on the first season of NBC/Uni TV’s The Office. She became a rising star, ascending to an executive producer on the Emmy-winning series where she also played customer service representative Kelly Kapoor. Kaling shared in six comedy series and one comedy writing Emmy nominations for her work on the show.
Kaling went on to create, executive produce and star in the praised Uni TV comedy The Mindy Project, which ran for six seasons, three on Fox and three on Hulu. Under her most recent overall deal at Uni TV, she also co-created and executive produced the NBC comedy series Champions.
I hear one of the draws for Kaling at WBTV was its status as an independent vs. a vertically integrated company like Uni TV.
Kaling recently made headlines with her new feature film Late Night, on which she serves as producer, writer and star opposite Emma Thompson. The movie made a strong debut at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Amazon Studios for a record-breaking North American distribution deal. Kaling is also the author of two bestselling books, Why Not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).
As an actor, Kaling’s feature film credits include Ocean’s Eight, A Wrinkle in Time, The Night Before, Inside Out, The 40 Year Old Virgin and more.
Kaling is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and attorney PJ Shapiro.