TCA 2019: Amazon Studios Signs Development Deal with Lena Waithe

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Amazon Studios has signed production deals with actor/producers Lena Waithe and Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, the streaming service announced Saturday morning at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Waithe (Showtime’s The Chi) will create and produce original series exclusive to the Amazon Prime Video platform, according to Amazon. Her first show will be Amazon’s upcoming original horror anthology series THEM, according to the streaming service.

“Lena is a powerhouse writer and producer who also has a gift for identifying exciting and authentic voices,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios in a statement. “Our upcoming series THEM is the result of her rare ability to cultivate brilliant voices like Little Marvin and bring his wholly original and compelling vision to Amazon. We look forward to collaborating with Lena and her team for years to come.”

Related: Amazon Spent $8.1M on TV to Push Prime Day

Amazon also announced that it has ordered eight-episode drama series The Banker’s Wife, based on the best-selling novel by Cristina Alger. The series spotlights two women who find themselves racing for answers when a mysterious plane crash sets them off on parallel pursuits of truth, according to Amazon.

Meredith Stiehm (Homeland) will write all eight episodes, with award-winning director Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland, Now and Then) directing all eight, according to the streaming service. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.