Lena Waithe Moves Overall Deal From Showtime to Amazon

The 'Chi' creator already has an anthology series, 'Them,' set up with the company.
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage
Lena Waithe

Lena Waithe is moving her overall deal.

The Emmy-winning writer, actress and producer has inked an overall deal with Amazon Studios, moving from her previous home at Showtime. The pact extends Waithe's relationship with the retail giant/streamer, with whom she's already working on the horror anthology series Them. That series was picked up nearly one year ago with a two-season order. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke on Saturday announced at the Television Critics Association's press tour that Ashley Thomas and Deborah Ayorinde would star in the first season of the anthology, which is poised to begin production shortly.

"Lena is a powerhouse writer and producer who also has a gift for identifying exciting and authentic voices,” Salke said in a statement timed to her TCA announcement. “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.”

Waithe's Hillman Grad Productions partner Rishi Rajani will make the move to Amazon as well. Under the new pact, the banner will create and produce original series for the streamer. Hillman Grad's slate includes Waithe's feature film writing debut Queen & Slim; the TBS turned BET comedy Twenties; HBO's untitled Kid Fury project; and Showtime's How to Make Love to a Black Woman. Waithe also created and executive produces Showtime's The Chi, BET's Boomerang and Netflix's Dear White People. She also co-wrote the Emmy-winning "Thanksgiving" episode of Netflix's Master of None, on which she co-stars.

"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.”

Waithe joins a rapidly growing roster of producers housed at Amazon including Jack Ryan star John Krasinski, Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan (who moved over from Warner Bros. TV) and Jordan Peele.

Waithe is repped by WME, Mission Entertainment and Del Shaw.