‘The Chi’ Creator Lena Waithe Signs Overall Deal at Amazon

TCA 2019: Waithe is producing streaming service’s upcoming horror anthology “Them”

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Lena Waithe is moving over to Amazon, signing an overall deal with the streamer, the studio announced Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour.

Waithe, who will produce Amazon’s upcoming horror anthology “Them,” will create and produce original series for Amazon Studios under her production company Hillman Grad.

“Lena is a powerhouse writer and producer who also has a gift for identifying exciting and authentic voices,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said. “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.”

Waithe founded her production company, Hillman Grad, alongside her creative partner, Rishi Rajani. The company’s slate includes Waithe’s feature film writing debut “Queen & Slim,” starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, directed by Melina Matsoukas, which will be released by Universal Pictures in November; “Twenties,” which she created and wrote for BET; HBO’s Untitled Kid Fury Project; and Showtime’s “How to Make Love to a Black Woman.”

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership with Amazon Studios and am looking forward to this next chapter,” said Waithe. “Both of our goals are aligned in that we want to continue elevating storytellers who are underrepresented and have a unique vision of the world.”

Waithe signed a first-look deal with Showtime last summer, where her drama “The Chi” is heading into its third season. She has been criticized over her handling of Jason Mitchell, who was fired from the show after complaints of behavior from co-stars. Ayanna Floyd, who was the showrunner for Season 2, said that Waithe knew of the complaints against Mitchell that began in the first season from his co-star Tiffany Boone.