Under the multi-year pact, Appleby — who stars in Lifetime’s “UnReal,” which hails from A+E Studios — will develop, create and produce original programming for both the A+E portfolio of network and other buyers. All projects created under the deal will be produced by Appleby’s banner, Appletree Pictures.
Along with the deal, Appleby will also serve as a brand ambassador for A+E Studios and Lifetime, representing the brands are various events throughout the year.
“Shiri is a phenomenal talent, and working closely with her on ‘UnREAL’ has been both a personal and professional highlight. I look forward to bringing her distinct voice to new projects at A+E Studios,” said Erica Bello, vice president of creative affairs at A+E Studios.
Appleby commented, “I’m so grateful to A+E Studios for this incredible opportunity and can’t wait to get to work!”
The deal comes after Appleby let her interest in directing and producing be known to A+E Studios exec VP Barry Jossen, who guided her to making her directorial debut on “UnReal” with an episode in Season 2. She stars alongside Constance Zimmer on the critically-acclaimed series, which is currently in production on its third season. For her work on the show, Appleby was nominated for a Critics Choice Awards for best actress.
Appleby’s deal is an example of inclusive movements occurring underneath the A+E umbrella, specifically Lifetime, which launched the Broad Focus initiative to provide women with more opportunities to write, develop, produce and direct content for the network. The network also has digital programming, dubbed the “Fempire” brand, specifically created for feminists. “UnReal” creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, a self-proclaimed feminist, frequently discusses the need for more female directors in television and film.
Aside from “UnReal,” Appleby is known for her breakout role on “Roswell,” which she starred on for all three seasons. She also played the lead on the CW’s “Life Unexpected.” Her other credits include HBO’s “Girls,” CBS’s “Code Black,” NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” “ER” and in her earlier days, “Who’s the Boss” and “Doogie Howser MD.”
Appleby is repped by UTA and attorney Jeanne Newman.