11:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Mindy Kaling Exits Universal for Rich Six-Year Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV
Mindy Kaling is on the move.
The actress, writer and producer has, in a competitive situation, signed what sources say is a massive six-year, mid-eight-figure overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The news comes days after Universal TV signed Nahnatchka Khan to a rich four-year overall deal that saw the Fresh Off the Boat creator leave her longtime home at 20th Century Fox TV.
Sources say Kaling wanted a long-term pact as the overall deal market continues to heat up. Kaling will develop, write and produce new projects for Warners for broadcast, cable and streaming platforms, including comedy, drama, longform and event series as well as unscripted and digital fare. Her production company, Kaling International, will produce all-new series in association with Warners.
The deal will see the Office grad leave her longtime home at Universal Television, where she has been based since breaking out on the former NBC comedy (on which she starred and wrote more than 20 episodes). For the NBCUniversal-owned studio, Kaling created the Fox-turned-Hulu comedy The Mindy Project and NBC's short-lived comedy Champions. She next has Hulu's anthology take on Four Weddings and a Funeral due this year.
The Emmy-nominated writer and actress landed at WBTV in a competitive situation with multiple studios bidding. Sources say Disney was near a deal with Kaling when Amazon — who paid a whopping $13 million for her Emma Thompson-led Sundance feature Late Night — came calling with what was said to be a sizable offer that also included a film component. Warners swooped in, upped the offer and ultimately won over Kaling, who is riding high after strong reviews for Late Night, which she wrote and which was financed by 30West and FilmNation. (The pic was originally set up at Fox 2000, which let its rights lapse.) Heading into Sundance, buyers considered Late Night the most commercial of the festival's crop, with studios from Lionsgate to New Line also putting in offers for the pic. Amazon is set to release Late Night theatrically this summer.
The Kaling pact arrives as competition for top talent has reached a fever pitch. Warner Bros., Comcast and Disney are all planning their own direct-to-consumer platforms in a bid to compete with Netflix, which has signed major players away from their longtime studio homes (such as Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, who left ABC and Fox, respectively). Kaling gives Warners an established comedy writer and actress to add to its roster of top producers including Chuck Lorre and Greg Berlanti, among others.
Kaling is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and attorney P.J. Shapiro.