Lena Waithe signs first-look deal with Showtime
Emmy-winning writer and producer Lena Waithe (The Chi, Master of None) has signed a first-look deal with Showtime, expanding her relationship with the network that launched her first series as a creator and executive producer. Waithe will work with Showtime on comedy and drama projects that she both writes and produces through her company Hillman Grad Productions.
Gary Levine, President of Programming at Showtime said: “We fell in love with Lena’s voice when we ordered her pilot for The Chi three years ago, and we have watched in awe at her powerful impact on our industry and our culture. Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”
“I have been a fan of Showtime for as long as I can remember. They make shows that most networks wouldn’t touch and they’ve never been afraid of taking risks. I look forward to introducing my Showtime family to fresh and exciting new voices. I want to make content that will challenge audiences and take them places they never thought TV could go. It’s going to be a fun ride,” added Waithe.
Waithe is a triple threat as a producer, writer, and actor who expertly taps into emerging cultural sensibilities with a sharp wit, speaking to myriad experiences from her unique perspective and challenging audiences to think outside of conventional norms as a champion for diversity in entertainment.
Waithe’s The Chi was the biggest drama series launch for Showtime in two years and was quickly renewed for a second season after growing its audience in consecutive weeks. The series is a timely coming-of-age story that explores the humanity behind the headlines sensationalizing the South Side of Chicago.
Waithe won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, a GLAAD Media Award, and earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for the Master of None episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote. The episode adapted Waithe’s personal experience as a queer black woman coming out to herself and her family in the character of Denise, played by Waithe. Her latest script, Queen & Slim, was picked up by Universal and will begin production in January starring Daniel Kaluuya.