Lena Waithe Developing an Open-Marriage TV Drama for Amazon

Lena Waithe has a new television drama project under Amazon. The award-winning writer-producer is developing an Amazon TV series about open relationships, tentatively called Open. Waithe has already finished a draft for a pilot script, and under her deal with the streamer, is further developing the pilot for a series.

Waithe is developing a TV series on open relationships for Amazon Studios tentatively called Open (working title), according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Emmy-winning multihyphenate has just finished a draft for the pilot script and is developing it for a series, which will be developed under the deal that Waithe signed with Amazon in 2019. Waithe told THR:

I’ve never been in an open marriage, but it’s fascinating to me. We live in a world where, if I told you I cheated on my wife, you would be like, “Yeah, that’s the way it goes.” But if I told you that I’m in an open marriage, it would be as if I told you I’m joining the Church of Scientology.

Added Waithe, “Society has such a conservative way of looking at marriage. I do think that we as a nation need to reevaluate what marriage looks like for us as a country — because whatever we have right now, it ain’t working.”

Amazon hasn’t picked Open up for series yet, but if it would, the series would be sort of groundbreaking — open or nontraditional marriages have rarely been depicted on mainstream TV. The closest would probably be HBO’s Big Love, which followed a fundamentalist Mormon family in contemporary Utah that practices polygamy. Ryan Murphy also previously attempted to create an HBO series on the subject of open relationships back in 2014, but it fell through. It would certainly be fascinating to see how Waithe tackles the subject after bestowing her magic touch on episodes of Master of None, winning an Emmy for writing the coming-out episode “Thanksgiving.”

Open would also be Waithe’s first new series since the 2020 BET comedy series Twenties, on which Waithe is credited writer. Waithe and her Hillman Grad Productions banner are working on several projects under her Amazon deal, with the first being a horror anthology series called Them: Covenant. The series, written by Little Marvin, follows a Black couple (Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas) who move to a picturesque all-white Los Angeles neighborhood, where they face real and supernatural threats. In addition, Waithe is juggling several TV projects under other networks including Showtime’s The Chi and BET’s Boomerang and Twenties.

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