EXCLUSIVE: Dear Whites creator Justin Simien goes into business with Paramount Television Studios. The multi-trait director, screenwriter and producer signed a three-year global contract with the studio. As part of the pact, it will develop premium TV series for various platforms through its production company Culture Machine.
“During Dear WhitesAmazing Four Seasons, it has been an honor to facilitate bold storytelling by design, inclusive by default that pushes for a better and more nuanced portrayal on screen as well as in the writers room, director’s chair, and across departments. Said Simien. “Backed by an enthusiastic dream team at Paramount Television Studios, I am delighted to have the resources to apply my passion to identify and develop the stars, storytellers and artists of tomorrow on an exponentially larger scale. As our industry strives to attract an ever-changing and increasingly diverse consumer base, Culture Machine is ready and dedicated to meet this demand. “
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Aaliyah Jihad, who joined Culture Machine in 2019, will serve as Creative Executive.
Simien has enjoyed success across multiple genres and release platforms, including his first film Dear Whites which was later adapted into the popular Netflix series, the fourth and final season of which will premiere this fall. Last October, his second feature film, the psychological thriller / satire Bad hair, starring Vanessa Williams, Laverne Cox and newcomer Elle Lorraine was acquired at Sundance on a seven-figure contract and released via Hulu. Simien is set to make his big-budget studio debut later this year, directing the fantasy horror comedy, Haunted house for Disney. Simien can be seen as a guest judge on the final season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, now streaming on Paramount +.
According to Nicole Clemens, President of Paramount Television Studios and Paramount + Original Scripted Series, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Justin and his wonderful team at Culture Machine to the PTVS family. Justin is a singular talent whose work constantly pushes the boundaries of storytelling and sparks the necessary conversations both on and off screen. We’ve long been fans of him, and we look forward to championing more of the cutting-edge and essential stories his name has become synonymous with. “
Simien is replaced by CAA, Grandview and Del Shaw Moonves.