Amazon Studios has closed two high-profile first-look TV deals, one with with Connie Britton and another with Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions. Both were announced Saturday during Amazon’s presentation at TCA.
Under the pacts, both Britton, via her production company Deep Blue, and Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions, will develop television series to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
“Connie Britton is a multi-talented actress who has captivated audiences with her portrayal of smart, complicated women,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Britton’s ability to create memorable characters and identify compelling stories makes her a perfect fit for Amazon Studios. We look forward to seeing what she creates for the global Amazon Prime Video audience.”
Four-time Emmy nominee Britton most recently starred in and served as executive producer for the first season of Bravo’s scripted anthology series Dirty John, which earned her both Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for her work. Britton also starred as the female lead in the first season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story for FX. She teamed up with Murphy again in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson for FX, and most recently for Murphy’s Fox procedural first-responder drama, 9-1-1. In film, Britton most recently wrapped production on Good Joe Bell, in which she stars alongside Mark Wahlberg.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Jen and the team at Amazon, and my hope is to contribute thoughtful, provocative, female-driven and inclusive programming to their exceptional platform, telling stories that will reflect ourselves back to ourselves in ways we’ve never seen before,” said Britton. “I know this will be an exciting and purposeful collaboration.”
Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi co-founded Significant Productions in 2010 to develop and produce content with a focus on diversity and inclusivity in front of and behind the camera. The company’s projects include feature films, documentaries, TV and digital ventures.
“Significant Productions, fueled by the vision of Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi, has given a platform to emerging talent and created brilliant, critically acclaimed, and commercially successful projects across film and television,” said Albert Cheng, COO and co-head of Television, Amazon Studios. “We are looking forward to working with Significant Productions as they continue to develop fresh voices to tell even more important, inclusive stories.”
Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi have been behind a string of critically acclaimed and monetarily successful films including Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station (2013), Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope (2015), Chloe Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), Michael Larnell’s Roxanne Roxanne (2018) and Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You (2018), all of which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Dramatic Competition over the past five years. Fruitvale Station, Dope, and Songs My Brothers Taught Me also premiered internationally in Cannes. Currently, Yang Bongiovi and Whitaker are executive producing, and Whitaker is also starring in, the premium series Godfather of Harlem, which will premiere on Epix this fall.
“Teaming up with Amazon Studios for our producing endeavors in television empowers us to amplify what we’ve been building these last nine years,”said Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi. “Championing inclusive stories as wells as diverse talent and creators is in our DNA, and creating cultural impact is our brand. Having Albert Cheng, Vernon Sanders and Jennifer Salke in our corner is truly remarkable. We’re thrilled to join the extraordinary roster of talent at the studio.”