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Hannah Waddingham-Octavia Spencer Action-Adventure Show Lands at Amazon

December 19, 2023

Tessa Coates’ original idea from Skydance TV generated a fierce bidding war and scored a straight-to-series order at the streamer.

Consider this Thelma & Louise meets Jack Ryan.

Amazon, following an intensive bidding war, has landed the action-adventure show starring Hannah Waddingham and Octavia Spencer with an eight-episode, straight-to-series order.

The untitled show is based on an original idea from Tessa Coates (Feel Good) that was taken out to six of the major streamers, four of which bought the show while in the room and with the others also making offers before Amazon emerged the victor, prompting the pitch to the seventh streamer to be canceled. The series was one of few new original scripted ideas that generated multiple offers in what many Hollywood insiders say has been an unusually quiet marketplace after the writers strike.

Ted Lasso Emmy winner Waddingham and The Help Oscar winner Octavia Spencer will star as best friends Judith and Debbie, respectively, who work to repair their friendship after Debbie learns Judith is a highly trained assassin. When a hit goes horribly wrong, the pair go on the run while being targeted by a mysterious enemy who wants them dead. Only together can they solve this layered mystery.

“We were blown away by this one-of-a-kind comedy,” said Amazon MGM Studios head Jennifer Salke. “Tessa’s pitch delivered it all — fantastically original characters, a great story, the amazing creative talents of Octavia and Hannah, and so much fun. We are over the moon to work with them all plus the dream teams at Skydance, Double Dream and Orit Entertainment.”

The untitled project is the first to stem from Skydance TV’s first-look with Spencer’s Orit Entertainment and marks the indie studio’s latest collaboration with Amazon following Reacher, Jack Ryan and the upcoming Cross. Coates will exec produce alongside Spencer, Brian Clisham and Stephanie Kluft for Orit; Waddingham; Andy Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti and Irene Yeung for Double Dream; and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Matt Thunell for Skydance Television. Mark Mikutowicz and Blair Bigelow developed the project for Skydance.

“I was in as soon as I heard Tessa’s stunning pitch. To be able to dive into a role like Debbie is rare, and working with Hannah to bring this unique friendship to life is a dream,” said Spencer. “We knew we had something special with Skydance and Double Dream, and now that we have a home at Amazon, our vision has become a reality.”

Coates is a writer, performer and stand-up who co-hosts the podcast Nobody Panic. Her first of three stand-up shows, Primates, was adapted for ABC with Greg Daniels (The Office) attached to exec produce. Onscreen, Coates has been seen on Starstruck, Feel Good, Ladhood, Smothered, Comic Relief, Birds of a Feather and Damned. She was one-third of the sketch group Massive Dad, alongside Stevie Martin and Liz Kingsman.

“I’m not gonna lie, a few expletives fell out of my face at the prospect of working with the magnificent Ms. Spencer, Tessa Coates’ hugely energetic, exhilarating script, Skydance and Double Dream,” said Waddingham. “To then see the immediate excited response from a mighty beast like Amazon! It’s all just incredibly exciting, and I can’t wait to get our collective teeth into it!”

The role marks Waddingham’s follow-up to Emmy-winning breakout hit Ted Lasso, the future of which remains up in the air as Apple, producers Warner Bros. TV and creators including star Jason Sudeikis discuss potential spinoffs or perhaps a return for a fourth season sans the show’s titular character. Waddingham, who famously rang the “shame” bell on Game of Thrones, also has a holiday variety show on Apple, Home for Christmas, and a résume that includes Netflix’s recently concluded Sex Education, Fox’s animated comedy Krapopolis, and the upcoming features Fall Guy, Garfield and Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part Two.

Spencer, meanwhile, and her Orit banner have exec produced such series as Truth Be Told, Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, and the docuseries Lost Women of Highway 20 and Feds.

Double Dream, led by siblings Andy and Barbara Muschietti, is producing It offshoot Welcome to Derry for Max and counts the features It and The Flash among the company’s credits.