Prolific creator-producer Lena Waithe has closed an overall deal with Amazon Studios. She has three series on the air, including the upcoming Amazon horror anthology Them.
Emmy winner Waithe is among the slew of A-list showrunners who have been shopping mega overall deals over the past seven months. Her Amazon pact is believed to be for two years and in the eight-figure range.
Under the agreement, Waithe, will executive produce Them and work with Amazon Studios to create and exec produce new original series to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. She will develop shows through Waithe Hillman Grad, the company she founded with her creative partner Rishi Rajani.
“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.”
Amazon a year ago gave a two-season pickup to horror event series Them, from executive producer Waithe and writer and executive producer Little Marvin.
Hillman Grad’s TV slate include the upcoming BET comedy series Twenties, which Waithe created, wrote and executive produces; Showtime drama series The Chi — recently renewed for a third season — which Waithe created and executive produces; and BET’s Boomerang, renewed for a second season, which Waithe co-created and exec produces.
Additionally, the company has Showtime pilot How to Make Love to a Black Woman and the Untitled Kid Fury Project in development at HBO.
On the film side, Waithe’s feature writing debut Queen & Slim, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith and directed by Melina Matsoukas, will be released by Universal in November. Her previous producer credits include Step Sisters and Dear White People.
In 2017, Waithe made Emmy history as the first black woman to win for comedy series writing. She was recognized for co-writing the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None with co-creator/star Aziz Ansari.
“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.”
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