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Lena Waithe’s new TV deal leads to ‘Hoop Dreams’ series

Lena Waithe's new TV deal leads to 'Hoop Dreams' series
(Photo credit: Bang Media)

Lena Waithe’s dominance in Hollywood continues as she just scored another huge victory. Warner Bros. Television Group signed a big exclusive overall deal with “The Chi” creator after a highly competitive bidding war for the producer, actor and Emmy-winning writer and her Hillman Grad Productions.

The new multi-year deal will see Waithe and her business partner Rishi Rajani produce new television programming through Hillman Grad for all platforms, including Warner Media’s HBO Max, external streaming services, cable, and the five broadcast networks. Hillman Grad’s first project to be released through Warner Bros. Television Group will be a scripted drama inspired by the landmark documentary film Hoop Dreams.

Hoop Dreams was a very important documentary in my life growing up, it was right in my own backyard. I was seeing two young Black people with dreams bigger than their backyard and watching their journeys as they also struggled and tried to understand where they fit in their families. I always knew I wanted to bring that story back because Hoop Dreams, to me, is so representative of what it means to have a dream, to be from a city that you really believe in, and you’re really proud to be from,” Waithe said to Deadline.

Hoop Dreams director Steve James and producers Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx will be involved in the new project as well. William Gates and Arthur Agee, the two high school players who were followed in the film, will also serve as producers.

“I didn’t want to announce or talk about Hoop Dreams until they had been contacted by the filmmakers to know that we were doing this even though we aren’t going to base characters on them per se, we’re going to do something set in the ’90s, some kids with a dream, so it will be in a similar vein. It was so important that they know that these stories will be handled with care, the title will be handled with care,” Waithe told Deadline.

While it will be a minute before Waithe’s basketball drama comes to the screen, you can check out her hit series “Twenties” which is currently in the middle of its second season on BET.

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