'Orange Is the New Black' Showrunner Jenji Kohan Inks Overall Deal at Netflix (Exclusive)

The pact comes three months after the streaming giant locked another prolific producer, Shonda Rhimes, into a overall deal.
Courtesy of Netflix
Jenji Kohan

In its ongoing bid for Hollywood domination, Netflix has inked another gargantuan deal.

This time, the streaming giant is pacting with one of its most successful collaborators, Jenji Kohan. The deal will make Netflix the Orange Is the New Black and GLOW producer’s exclusive creative home to produce new original series and other projects. The pact follows an even larger one inked in August with Shonda Rhimes, poaching her away from her home of more than a decade, ABC Studios, in a deal estimated to be worth $100 million.

The move comes as Netflix has made clear that ownership is a sizable part of its plan going forward. It’s a shift in strategy for the streamer, which entered the originals business only four year ago and has drummed up the price of content with its aggressive offers and massive $6 billion content budget. For much of that time, Netflix was focused simply on licensing programming and thus had no need to have talent in its stable. Now that that has changed, with plans to own many of its shows in the coming years, the need for content creators to be focused exclusively on Netflix fare becomes increasingly important.

To be sure, the push is occurring against the backdrop of increased competition from new entrants (think Apple) and reactionary services (Disney) along with an heightened focus on vertical integration elsewhere in the landscape. For Netflix, Kohan — who had an overall deal at Lionsgate TV earlier in Orange's run — brings with her a lengthy list of notable credits (her own Weeds among them) along with a capacity to have multiple successful series going at once. With GLOW, she's proven that she's as adept at producing others' series as well as her own. Other Kohan projects include American Princess for Lifetime (produced by A+E Studios and IM Global) and a teen Jesus project for Netflix.

“Bold, outspoken and totally fearless, Jenji has constantly raised the bar for storytelling at Netflix," the company’s vp originals Cindy Holland said Friday in a statement. "She possesses a rare and special talent to say what’s unspoken, choose the unexpected over the safe and drive the cultural conversation — and audiences love her for it.”

Added Kohan, “Current climate aside, it’s great to be in bed with Netflix.”

Kohan is repped by CAA and attorney Robert Getman.