Warner Bros. TV Group Inks Lena Waithe to Multi-Year Production Deal

Lena Waithe
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. TV Group has signed Emmy-winning producer Lena Waithe and her production company Hillman Grad Productions to a multi-year development deal.

The agreement calls for Waithe -- who previously signed a two-year deal with Amazon Studios -- and her production partner Rishi Rajani, to create television programming through Hillman Grad for streaming service HBO Max as well as  WarnerMedia’s cable networks and five broadcast networks, said WBTVG officials. 

Waithe, who won a 2017 Emmy for her work on Netflix’s Master of None, has also produced such shows as Prime Video’s horror series Them, Showtime’s The Chi and BET’s Twenties.

The first project under the new deal will be a scripted series based on the sports documentary Hoop Dreams, which was produced by Frederick Marx, Steve James, and Peter Gilbert for Kartemquin Films.

“We are excited to work with Hillman Grad, Playground and Warner Bros. Television on adapting Hoop Dreams into a scripted television series,” said James, Gilbert and Marx in a statement. “There’s been quite a bit of interest over the years since the film came out in 1994, but Lena Waithe is the ideal Chicagoan to lead the effort to finally make it happen.” 

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.