Showtime Signs Lena Waithe to First-Look Deal

Lena Waithe has signed a first-look deal with Showtime, where her drama The Chi airs. Waithe will work with Showtime on comedy and drama projects that she both writes and produces through her company Hillman Grad Productions.

“We fell in love with Lena’s voice when we ordered her pilot for The Chi three years ago, and we have watched in awe at her powerful impact on our industry and our culture,” said Gary Levine, president of programming at Showtime. “Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”

Waithe is a producer, writer and actor.

“I have been a fan of Showtime for as long as I can remember,” said Waithe. “They make shows that most networks wouldn't touch and they've never been afraid of taking risks. I look forward to introducing my Showtime family to fresh and exciting new voices. I want to make content that will challenge audiences and take them places they never thought TV could go. It's going to be a fun ride.”

The Chi, a coming of age story set in Chicago’s South Side, premiered in January. It was renewed for a second season.

Waithe’s credits also include Master of None and Twenties, and the films Step Sisters and Dear White People.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.