Coker comes to Amazon as the studio has been steadily beefing up its roster of exclusive talent deals under the direction of Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, an alum of NBC, 20th Century Fox TV and other studios. The pact calls for Coker to develop TV series for Amazon Prime Video through his Seattle-based Fighting 99th Entertainment banner.
Coker is a fast-rising showrunner star thanks to the warm reception from critics to the initial batch of “Luke Cage” episodes for Netflix in 2016. The Disney-produced series, based on a Marvel Comics property, revolves around an African-American ex-con who returns home to save his Harlem neighborhood and gains superhuman strength in the process.
Coker was freed up in October when Netflix canceled “Luke Cage” after two seasons. The show was likely a casualty of the intensifying battle between Disney and Netflix as the former looks to build the competitive Disney Plus SVOD service for launch by the end of 2019.
“Amazon is the future, and their bespoke, specific approach to building groundbreaking shows offers an amazing opportunity, one that I’m incredibly thankful for,” said Coker. “I am excited for people to see what we have in store.”
Coker began his career as a staff music writer for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote for Rolling Stone, Vibe, Essence and other national magazines before segueing into TV as a writer on the gritty L.A.-based cop show “Southland.” He’s also worked on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles” and other shows. On the film side he wrote the story for “Creed II.” Other credits include 2009’s “Notorious” and 2016’s “Lowrider.”
“We’re very excited to welcome Cheo to the Amazon Studios family,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of television for Amazon Studios. “From ‘Notorious’ to ‘Luke Cage,’ Cheo is a provocative, revolutionary storyteller, and we’re happy he’ll be creating those kinds of bold new series exclusively for Prime Video.”
Coker is represented by CAA, AB Fischer of Literate Management and attorney Darrell D. Miller of Fox Rothschild.