8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Reese Witherspoon Sets '70s Rock Drama Series at Amazon
Amazon Studios is ready to rock.
The Jennifer Salke-led streamer and retail giant has handed out a 13-episode order for a limited series based on the Taylor Jenkins Reid's forthcoming book Daisy Jones & The Six.
The limited series landed at Amazon before it could be taken out to the marketplace. After Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine acquired rights to the book, Salke got a copy ahead of its March 2019 publication and aggressively pursued the TV rights to the title. The project was never taken to market.
Daisy Jones & The Six centers on a fictional rock band in the 1970s and follows their rise through the ranks of the L.A. music scene and beyond, eventually becoming one of the most legendary bands in the world. Amazon will distribute original music from the series (via Amazon Music), and the print and audiobook from Ballantine/Random House will also be available via Amazon.com and Audible.com.
The Disaster Artist duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will pen the script and will oversee Daisy. Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine banner topper Lauren Neustadter will exec produce alongside Circle of Confusion's Brad Mendelsohn. Neustadter and Weber, whose credits include 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars, will also exec produce. Author Jenkins will be credited as a producer. The series is a co-production between Amazon Studios, which controls worldwide rights, and Hello Sunshine.
"When I heard Hello Sunshine was developing Daisy Jones & The Six, I tracked down a copy right away and devoured it in one sitting. I loved it so much I had to take it off the market and bring it to Amazon Studios,” said Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “I was immediately struck by how perfectly it fit into our overall approach of bringing passionate creators and entertaining, compelling content to our Prime Video audience. Reese, Lauren and I are kindred spirits!”
Daisy becomes Hello Sunshine's latest TV foray. In addition to the upcoming second season of awards darling Big Little Lies, the company also has Little Fires Everywhere — starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington — at Hulu and three shows at Apple, including a morning show drama that she toplines alongside Jennifer Aniston. (Coincidentally, Witherspoon's Big Little Lies co-star, Nicole Kidman, recently inked a first-look film and TV deal with Salke at Amazon.)
"As soon as I started reading Daisy Jones & The Six, I immediately fell head over heels in love with it, and I’m thrilled to be bringing it to the screen with Amazon and Jen Salke, whose passionate pursuit of the material spoke volumes," said Witherspoon, who also has a blurb on the book jacket. "With Neustadter and Weber, two writers I deeply admire, stewarding this project, I am so confident that Daisy and her band’s journey toward finding their voice will leave just as permanent a mark with viewers around the world as it did with me."
The drama marks a big play for Amazon Studios, which was among the bidders for Little Fires Everywhere. With the music rights, Amazon has another revenue stream that could prove profitable for the series in a way akin to what Fox achieved with Glee and Empire.
Daisy joins a roster of scripted fare at Amazon that also includes Lord of the Rings, Jack Ryan, Julia Roberts vehicle Homecoming, Matt Weiner's The Romanoffs and the recently renewed Man in the High Castle, as well as the Emmy-nominated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, among others.
Witherspoon, who now has six shows at four outlets, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Hello Sunshine is with CAA and Gretchen Rush. Circle of Confusion is with CAA and Howard Abramson. Neustadter and Weber are with UTA, Kaplan Perrone and Sean Marks. Reid is with WME, Circle of Confusion, Park Literary and Media and Bloom Hergott.