Paul Lee's New Studio Lands TV Rights to Gimlet Podcast 'Sandra'

Sandra Key Art Crop 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Gimlet Media

Gimlet Media is growing its TV portfolio. 

Paul Lee's new studio, wiip, has acquired the rights to Gimlet's latest scripted podcast, Sandra, in a competitive situation. Wiip will adapt the seven-episode audio comedy for television with Gimlet Pictures, the podcast startup's film and TV arm, producing. 

Sandra, which debuted April 18, is set five minutes into the future as Helen Perez takes a job at Orbital Industries, the company behind virtual assistant Sandra. As one of thousands of Sandra operators, Helen spends her days helping users navigate their questions and demands. The catch: None of them know she's real. Along the way, Helen struggles to manage her divorce while keeping her boss Dustin happy, and she starts to develop an increasingly unprofessional relationship with heartbroken Sandra super-user Tad. The voice cast for the Sandra podcast includes Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Abbott, Ethan Hawke and Avi Rothman. 

"Wiip is committed to supporting bold, creative content," Lee said Monday in a statement. "Sandra is the latest example that Gimlet Pictures has mastered the art of storytelling, and we're excited to partner with them to bring Sandra's compelling and complex world to life on screen."

Sandra marks the second project from the former ABC chief's newly created independent studio, which is supported by CAA. Facebook has given a straight-to-series order to the dark comedy Queen America, created and written by Meaghan Oppenheimer and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, that hails from wiip. 

It is also the second scripted podcast from Gimlet Media, which broke into the fictional storytelling space with Homecoming, a drama starring Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer and Oscar Isaac that premiered in November 2016. Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is currently adapting Homecoming for Amazon with Julia Roberts set to star. Meanwhile, Gimlet also has Man of the People, based on an episode of its Reply All podcast, in development at Annapurna Pictures. 

"On the heels of launching Gimlet Pictures this year, we're excited to set our first project under the banner," said Gimlet Pictures head Chris Giliberti. "We couldn't be more thrilled to take this step forward with Paul Lee and the wonderful wiip team." 

Giliberti and Eli Horowitz will executive produce the series for Gimlet Pictures.

Gimlet is repped by CAA.