Amazon Studios has signed an overall deal with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of the Emmy-winning Amazon Original series, Fleabag. I hear the pact is for three years. There is no one hotter at the moment in TV than Waller-Bridge, a newly minted three-time Emmy winner whose shows, Fleabag and Killing Eve, just won a total of seven Emmys, most in marquee categories awarded Sunday night.
Leading into the Primetime Emmys this past weekend, which cemented Waller-Bridge’s status as TV’s “it” multi-hyphenate, feelers had been put out to TV studios and streamers for an overall deal with the English actress, playwright, producer and writer. There was a lot of interest in light of the success of Waller-Bridge’s current series, BBC/Amazon’s Fleabag and BBC America’s Killing Eve, with Amazon Studios quickly emerging as front-runner in the Waller-Bridge sweepstakes. The Amazon overall deal was in its final stages by this past weekend when Waller-Bridge swept the Emmys, I hear.
No financial details are being revealed, but the pact with Amazon is believed to be among the biggest for a female creator in a white-hot marketplace for writing-producing talent. Industry speculation estimates it to be in the mid-eight-figure range.
Under the deal, Waller-Bridge will create and produce new television content for Amazon Studios to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.
“I’m insanely excited to be continuing my relationship with Amazon,” said Waller-Bridge. “Working with the team on Fleabag was the creative partnership dreams are made of. It really feels like home. I can’t wait to get going.”
Waller-Bridge is the creator, writer, executive produce and star of Amazon comedy Fleabag, which won six Emmys, including comedy series, lead actress in a comedy series (Waller-Bridge), writing (Waller-Bridge), directing, casting and editing for a comedy series. She also is the creator/executive producer of BBC America drama Killing Eve, which on Sunday landed star Jodie Comer a lead actress in a drama series Emmy, having earned fellow star Sandra Oh a Golden Globe Award.
“We are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Phoebe at Amazon Studios,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “As evident in her great success at the Emmy Awards this week, she is clever, brilliant, generous and a virtuoso on multiple fronts including writing, acting and producing. Fleabag has been a gift to our Prime Video customers, and we are excited for what comes next from this brilliant mind to dazzle and delight our global audience.”
At TCA last month, Salke hinted at Amazon’s mission to keep Waller-Bridge in the fold. “I’m basically her stalker,” Salke quipped. “We revere Phoebe. She’s an incredible talent.”
Rivals also had declared their strong interest in Waller-Bridge. Netflix’s Reed Hastings recently revealed that Fleabag was the one show he wishes Netflix had on its roster.
While Killing Eve is heading into Season 3, Waller-Bridge at the Emmys once again shut the door to a possible third season of the zeitgeisty Fleabag.
Next for Waller-Bridge is Run, a comedic romantic thriller series for HBO starring Domhnall Gleeson and Merritt Wever. The eOne-produced show, which Waller-Bridge executive produces and recurs on, is currently filming for a 2020 premiere. The multi-hyphenate also reportedly has been keen on writing a movie and potentially starring in a show she hasn’t penned herself.
Waller-Bridge had a number of small acting roles in British series, including Sky comedy The Café and features such as The Iron Lady, before she broke through in the second season of ITV crime drama Broadchurch. She played barrister Abby Thompson, who becomes suspicious when the defendant she is representing changes his story.
Her first original TV creation was Channel 4’s Crashing, a left-field roommate comedy-drama about a group of twentysomethings who live in a disused hospital. The series, which debuted in January 2016, was a ratings flop and quickly was canceled. But it was followed soon by Fleabag on BBC Three, which became an immediate critical hit. It had originated as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013, which Waller-Bridge wrote and performed.
Waller-Bridge regularly works with her creative partner Vicky Jones, who runs with her DryWrite, a small theater company that produced Fleabag during its original run at the Soho Theatre. The pair are working together on HBO’s Run, which Jones is writing.
Waller-Bridge recently concluded limited, sold-out runs of her one-woman show Off-Broadway at New York’s SoHo Playhouse in April, and at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End this month.
The first season of Fleabag netted Waller-Bridge a BAFTA Television Award for Female Performance in a Comedy Program. Killing Eve earned her a Drama Series Golden Globe Award nomination as well as an Emmy nomination for Writing in a Drama Series. The first season, which Waller-Bridge wrote and showran, won a Peabody and also was nominated for 15 BAFTA Television Awards, including Best Drama and Best Writer: Drama.
In features, Waller-Bridge appeared as the first female droid in Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. She also joined the writing team for the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Cary Fukunaga. It is dated for an April release.
Waller-Bridge is repped by UTA, Hatton McEwan Penford, Independent Talent and Ziffren Brittenham.
Peter White and Dominic Patten contributed to this report.
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