YouTube Premium has ordered a comedic sci-fi anthology series from co-creators Jordan Peele and former “Key & Peele” writer Charlie Sanders, Variety has learned.
“Weird City,” as it is called, is set in the not-too-distant future metropolis of Weird. Each episode is an exploration of issues that pertains to present day life, stories that could only be told now through the prism of sci-fi and comedy.
The series is written by Jordan and Sanders and produced by Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, Sonar Entertainment, Mosaic, and Raskal Productions. Jose Molina will serve as showrunner and executive producer. The six-episode series will debut on YouTube Premium in 2019. Emmy winner Adam Bernsteinis set to direct the first two episodes.
“Writer/creator Charlie Sanders and I collaborated on some ‘Key & Peele’ sketches that took on everything from the ‘Black Republicans’ to ‘Continental Breakfasts’ to ‘Family Matters’,” said Peele. “Now, with YouTube we present a series of comedy driven twisted-ass science fiction stories that take place in a world close to ours but just a little bit off.”
In addition to his film work, Peele currently has multiple TV projects set up across a range of networks and streaming services. He is also an executive producer on the Tracy Morgan-led comedy “The Last OG” at TBS, which just wrapped up its first season. At HBO, he is executive producing “Lovecraft Country,” based on the book of the same name by Matt Ruff.
On the streaming side, in addition to “The Twilight Zone” reboot, Peele has set up the Nazi hunter drama “The Hunt” and a Lorena Bobbitt docu-series at Amazon. The Oscar-winner and his Monkeypaw Productions banner recently signed a first-look television deal with the streaming giant.
“Get Out,” a trenchant horror film about race relations, rode critical raves to a smashing box office debut. The low-budget film was the weekend’s top-grossing domestic release, earning $30.5 million, and propelling its director and writer Jordan Peele atop Hollywood’s A-list.
The film, which centers on a black man who discovers that his girlfriend’s liberal, lily-white hometown is guarding a sinister secret, marks a departure for Peele, best-known for his work on the Comedy Central series “Key & Peele.” It proves he can handle scares, as well as laughs, supplying sly social commentary in both genres.
“Get Out” also extends Blumhouse Productions’ hot hand. The film company scored earlier this year with “Split,” a thriller about a man with a personality disorder that racked up $130.8 million stateside on a $9 million budget. Universal distributed, marketed, and partnered on both movies.“It’s entertaining, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s subversive,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “I have seen [‘Get Out’] play with audiences. They enjoy themselves and they’re telling their friends.”
It wasn’t just word-of-mouth that accounted for the robust opening. “Get Out” benefited from being embraced by reviewers, earning a rare 100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the likes of the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern hailing its “explosive brilliance” and the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis praising it as “exhilaratingly smart.” The last horror film to receive that type of unanimous praise was Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” in 1965.
Jordan Peele has just signed a first-look deal with Sonar Entertainment for his production company, Monkeypaw Productions. The agreement encompasses all content for television, including digital. The news comes just ahead of the premiere of Peele’s feature directorial debut with horror film “Get Out,” which is already earning rave reviews.
Peele and Keegan-Michael Key created and performed in the Emmy-winning sketch series “Key & Peele,” which concluded a five-season run on Comedy Central in 2015. “Jordan Peele is one of the brightest stars in our business — a true hyphenate — actor, writer, producer and director. We are excited to partner with him and Monkeypaw,” said Sonar CEO Thomas Lesinski.
“I am thrilled to partner with the incredible folks at Sonar Entertainment as they are committed to truly elevated quality content. Especially now as I move into this next chapter in television, my aim is to help develop untapped voices as well as my own dream shows, and continue to push the boundaries of television,” Peele said.
Monkeypaw Productions was founded by Peele in 2012. In TV, Monkeypaw produced “Key & Peele” and is also behind Tracy Morgan’s TBS comedy series, which is set for production later this year.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have set up a followup TV series project to their hit Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele — a single-camera undercover cop comedy starring top Vine personality Andrew Bachelor aka King Bach. Key and Peele are executive producing the project which, in a competitive situation, has landed at Fox.
Written by Key & Peele writer-producer Alex Rubens, the untitled comedy is loosely based on a King Bach Vine and stars Bachelor as an undercover cop who grew up on the streets and goes back to his old neighborhood to take down the bad guys who bullied him when they were kids. Rubens, Key and Peele executive produce.
As his exuberant alter ego King Bach, Bachelor has become Vine’s biggest star, boasting 14 million followers and 5.1 billion loops. The Groundlings alum has parlayed his Vine success into a rising acting career with recurring roles on The Mindy Project, House Of Lies and Black Jesus. He also appeared on Key & Peele.
This is Key and Peele’s first TV series project since they recently ended their successful Comedy Central sketch comedy series Key & Peele, which the duo created, executive produced and starred in. The series, which ran for 5 seasons, has garnered 9 Emmy nominations, including best sketch variety comedy series and best supporting actor in a comedy series, Key, this year. Peele, Key and Rubens have shared two Emmy nominations in the writing for variety series category.
Key, Peele and Rubens recently worked together on the upcoming New Line feature Keanu, which Key and Peele produce and star in and Peele and Rubens wrote. Key and Peele also have been developing a new installment of thePolice Academy franchise at New Line, a feature based on their popular Substitute Teacher skits at Paramount with Rubens co-writing, and a comedy with Judd Apatow at Universal. Individually, Peele is set to write and direct Blumhouse’s horror film Get Out, while Key stars in Mike Birbiglia’s latest movie Don’t Think Twice and is part of the voice cast of The Angry Birds Movie.
The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced today, and it’s clear that diverse casting in television is finally impacting more than ratings. Eighteen African-American actors and actresses were acknowledged by the Television Academy for their work on the small screen this past season, including best actress in a drama nominees Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”), Queen Latifah for the HBO movie “Bessie”, Angela Bassett for limited series “American Horror Story” and Cicely Tyson for her guest turn on “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Other acting nominees include David Oyelowo for the limited series “Nightingale”, Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle for their respective comedy leads in “Black-ish” and “House of Lies”, Uzo Aduba for “Orange Is The New Black”, Khandi Alexander for her guest role on “Scandal”, Andre Braugher for his supporting role in the comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, Keegan-Michael Key for his comedy sketch show “Key & Peele” Niecy Nash for her supporting role in “Getting On”, Tituss Burgess for his supporting comedic role in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” , Michael Kenneth Williams for his supporting dramatic role in “Bessie”, Regina King for “American Crime”, Mo’Nique for her portrayal of Ma Rainey in “Bessie”, Tituss Burgess and Reg E. Cathey for his guest role on “House Of Cards.”
Additionally, Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”) scored big with 10 nominations for his critically-acclaimed ABC series “American Crime”, including Best Limited Series and Writing for a Limited Series. Additionally, writer/director Dee Rees (“Pariah”) is nominated for writing as well as directing for “Bessie.”
More writing nods went to Key and Jordan Peele for “Key & Peele” and the “Key & Peele Super Bowl Special”. Key & Peele were also acknowledged in the Short-Form Live Action category for “Key & Peele Presents Van And Mike: The Ascension”. Beyoncé continues to dominate all media with a nod in the Special Class Program category for “Beyoncé and Jay Z On The Run.”
Astrophysicist-turned-television personality and host Neil deGrasse Tyson was rewarded for his ventures into the entertainment space with two nominations: one as narrator for “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” and the other for his nascent talk show “Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.”
The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 20, hosted by Andy Samberg and broadcast live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
To see a full list of all the nominees, click here.
The Mixed Remixed Festival, a family festival, hosts the largest Loving Day celebration on the West Coast at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles (100 N. Central Ave.) tomorrow, Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Loving Day is officially held every year on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen states.
The festival celebrates stories of the mixed experience and multiracial Americans, the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., bringing together film and book lovers, innovative and emerging artists, and multiracial and multicultural families and individuals for workshops, readings, performances, and film screenings.
A fiscally-sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, the festival is produced by New York Times best-selling writer Heidi Durrow and a talented staff of volunteers.
The event is free and open to the public. The complete festival schedule can be found at www.mixedremixed.org. Highlights include:
• The largest West Coast Loving Day celebration at 6:30 p.m. with the annual Storyteller’s Prize presentation and live show. The prize will go to Comedy Central’s hit comedic duo Key & Peele, award-winning writer Susan Straight, and Cheerios’ marketing team as part of a dynamic live show featuring comedians, musicians and spoken-word poets. This program is currently reserved at capacity, but any open seats near showtime will be offered to individuals on the wait list. Call (213) 293-7077 or email email@example.com.
• Families can enjoy interactive craft activities all day as part of the Target Free Family Day; storytelling time with Sebastian Jones, co-author with actress Garcelle Beauvais of the children’s book “I Am Mixed”; and a writing workshop for kids with Lora Nakamura, author of “Bonsai Babes.”
• KPCC, Southern California’s largest public radio station, will produce a special panel called “#Multicultivate,” moderated by KPCC’s Josie Huang.
• Two award-winning feature films: “Sleeping with the Fishes” (directed by Nicole Gomez Fisher), winner of the Best New Director Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival, and “Closure” (directed by Bryan Tucker), a feature documentary about a transracial adoptee’s search for her biological parents. The latter screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and transracial adoptees and activists. The festival will also present a program of several ground-breaking short films.
• Readings by Krista Bremer, author of the hit memoir about her bicultural marriage, “My Accidental Jihad” (Algonquin Books); Crystal Chan, author of “Bird”; Chris Terry, author of “Zero Fade”; and many others. Skylight Books is the Festival’s official bookseller.
• Acting and writing workshops will be led by published authors and professional actors. Award-winning poet Aaron Samuels, author of the prize-winning “Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps,” will present a poetry-writing workshop; celebrated voice-over artist and acting professor Rayme Cornell will lead a voice-over class; and Khanisha Foster will offer a Performer’s Bootcamp. A complete list of workshops appears on the festival website.
• More than a dozen esteemed panelists will speak on diverse topics related to the mixed experience. Panelists include scholar Marcia Dawkins, activist/filmmaker Thomas Lopez, and YouTube’s Channing Sargent.
Festival sponsors include: Cheerios (Silver Sponsor), Japanese American National Museum (www.janm.org), Zerflin.com, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, Miss Jessie’s, and Poets & Writers through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.