Issa Rae signs $40 million film, TV deal with WarnerMedia

The five-year overall deal is a partnership between the mass media conglomerate and Rae's Hoorae media company

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HBO’s hit series Insecure may be coming to an end, but show creator Issa Rae is just getting started!

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that not only is the actress and producer renewing her commitment to HBO, she’s also inked a brand new five-year overall deal that will create a partnership between her Hoorae media company and WarnerMedia

According to Variety, “the pact gives HBO, HBO Max and Warner Bros. television exclusive rights to Rae’s work in TV, plus a first-look film deal that spans WarnerMedia brands, including Warner Bros. Pictures Group, New Line and HBO Max.”

“It’s really exciting to have that flexibility and just deepen the relationship that we already have,” the 36-year-old told Variety as part of the magazine’s March cover feature. “Hoorae already had at least 15 projects in various stages of development with them, so we’d been working with them on the drama side, the unscripted side, and the documentaries side for a couple years now.”

Issa Rae
(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

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“When people believe in you and build with you, I tend to want to further that relationship. That’s just been a staple of mine with so many of the people that I work with,” she added.

While both Rae and WarnerMedia declined to comment on the value of the deal, sources close to the proceedings told Variety that her pact is valued at $40 million over five years, putting her on par with Donald Glover, who inked a similarly lucrative overall deal with Amazon Studios.

“She’s obviously very talented and she’s very prolific,” said HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys. He then gave insight into why it was a priority for the brand to continue doing business with the multi-hyphenate creator. “It’s been very good to work with Issa personally, but also as a company because she’s seeded a lot of talent elsewhere.”

Bloys also acknowledges that Insecure has successfully broadened HBO’s audience due to its younger and more diverse cast and creatives. He added that he’s personally noticed that the Black comedy is religiously one of the first shows people watch when they sign up for the HBO Max streaming service.

“It’s an indicator of passion,” he explains. “Insecure always scores very high when it’s on and I think that says a lot about the fan base, that she’s telling a story that a lot of people want to hear.”

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Rae is currently filming the fifth and final season of Insecure and has the second season of Robin Thede’s A Black Lady Sketch Show (on which she is an executive producer) in the works. But television and film aren’t the only industries she has her eyes set on. 

As theGrio previously reported, her audio company, Raedio, has also signed a deal with ViacomCBS.

in 2019, Issa Rae made a major move when she launched her own record label, Raedio. She shared in an official announcement at the time, “Music has always been an essential part of every project I do and working with emerging talent is a personal passion…Raedio allows me to continue that work within the music industry and audio entertainment space.”

Now, a new step in Raedio‘s evolution, her audio company has signed a deal with the mass media conglomerate.

The MACRO Lodge and Universal Films Pictures “The Photograph" with Issa Rae and Stella Meghie
PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 25: Actor Issa Rae speaks at The MACRO Lodge and Universal Films Pictures “The Photograph” with Issa Rae and Stella Meghie panel on January 25, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MACRO Lodge)

According to Shadow and Act, this major deal will impact multiple entities under the ViacomCBS umbrella. The deal will reportedly “start with MTV Entertainment Group, including MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and CMT,” and is also set to eventually impact “other brands under ViacomCBS, including Showtime, BET, Nick and more.”

The ViacomCBS President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events, Bruce Gillmer, shared his excitement in an official statement. He explained, “We are thrilled about this unique collaboration with Raedio that not only will connect our audiences to fresh new music and voices but also create opportunities for up and coming artists.”

The president of Raedio, Benoni Tagoe, also released a statement, saying, “At its core, Raedio is an audio-everywhere company that prides itself on not only reaching audiences across multiple mediums including film, television and podcasts, but also providing emerging artists with an opportunity to have their voices heard.”

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