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Showtime Signs First-Look Deal With Lena Waithe

Showtime is really out here trying to get y’all to sign up for a subscription, and they’re making it worthwhile, too.

The Chi creator Lena Waithe is expanding her relationship with the network that launched her first series, after just signing a first-look deal with Showtime. Under the pact, Waithe will work with them on comedy and drama projects that she both writes and produces through her Hillman Grad Productions banner.

“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 Networks. “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.”

The Chi, which Waithe created and executive produces, premiered in January as the biggest launch for a Showtime drama series in two years. It was quickly renewed for a second season after growing its audience in consecutive weeks, continuing to add growth in the second half of the season, with the finale outperforming the premiere by a whopping 64 percent.

The series’ Showtime debut came on the heels of Waithe winning the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, along with a GLAAD Media Award and an NAACP Image Award Nomination for the Master of None episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote.

“I have been a fan of Showtime for as long as I can remember,” Waithe commented. “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.”



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