Amazon Studios announced Saturday that it has closed deals with Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe and actress-producer Connie Britton to develop television series to premiere globally on Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon Studios has closed a first-look deal with Whitaker, his producing partner, Nina Yang Bongiovi, and the production company they co-founded, Significant Productions.
“Teaming up with Amazon Studios for our producing endeavors in television empowers us to amplify what we’ve been building these last nine years,” Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi said in a joint statement. “Championing inclusive stories as well as diverse talent and creators is in our DNA, and creating cultural impact is our brand.”
Amazon Studios has closed an overall deal with Waithe, who will produce the upcoming Amazon Original horror anthology series “Them,” and work with Amazon Studios to create and produce original series.
Waithe shared the 2017 outstanding writing for a comedy series Emmy with Aziz Ansari for an episode of Netflix’s “Master of None.”
Britton said her hope “is to contribute thoughtful, provocative, female-driven and inclusive programming … telling stories that will reflect ourselves back to ourselves in ways we’ve never seen before.”
Britton is known for her roles on the 2006-11 NBC Texas high school football drama “Friday Night Lights,” which brought her two Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a drama series, and the 2012-18 ABC/CMT country music drama “Nashville,” which brought her a third outstanding lead actress in a drama Emmy nomination.
Amazon Studios also announced it has ordered an eight-episode season of the international adventure series “The Banker’s Wife,” based on the best-selling novel by Cristina Alger.
Amazon Studios describes “The Banker’s Wife” as “a high-stakes international thriller set in the world of global finance, from Geneva to Paris, London and New York, about two women racing for answers when a mysterious plane crash sets them off on parallel pursuits of truth” about “hidden offshore accounts meant to be kept in the dark,” discovering “a larger conspiracy of money laundering, powerful politicians and a web of terrorists and criminals.”
All eight episodes will be written by Meredith Stiehm, whose career has included executive producing the Showtime spy thriller “Homeland,” creating the CBS crime drama “Cold Case” and being a producer of the NBC hospital drama “ER” and the ABC crime drama “NYPD Blue.”
All eight episodes will be directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, a five-time Emmy nominee for outstanding directing of a drama series, four for “Homeland” and one for an episode of the AMC advertising drama “Mad Men.”
Amazon Prime Video also announced it has ordered a fifth season of the science fiction series “The Expanse” and a second season of the Orlando Bloom-starring fantasy drama “Carnival Row,” which will premiere Aug. 30.
The announcements were made at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, which is being held in Beverly Hills.
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