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Paul Lee’s Wiip, Gimlet Pictures to Develop Scripted Podcast ‘Sandra’ as TV Series

In a competitive situation, Paul Lee’s newly-launched independent studio Wiip has acquired the rights to Gimlet Media’s scripted podcast “Sandra” to develop it as a series for premium television.

Gimlet Pictures, the TV and film production arm of Gimlet Media, will produce the series. The seven-episode podcast launched all episodes on April 18. It is set five minutes in the future and follows Helen Perez, a new hire at Orbital Industries, the company behind Sandra, the world’s most intuitive virtual assistant. As one of thousands of Sandra operators, Helen spends her days peeking into the world of Sandra users and helping them navigate their questions and demands. One problem: the users don’t know she’s real. Along the way, Helen’s own world becomes more difficult to navigate, too, as she struggles to manage a divorce while keeping her boss Dustin happy. She also may be in a bit of an increasingly unprofessional situation in her interactions with Tad, a heartbroken Sandra super-user.

“Wiip is committed to supporting bold, creative content,” said Lee. “’Sandra’ is the latest example that Gimlet Pictures has mastered the art of storytelling, and we’re excited to partner with them to bring Sandra’s compelling and complex world to life on screen.”

Gimlet Pictures’ Eli Horowitz and Giliberti will serve as executive producers on the series.

“On the heels of launching Gimlet Pictures this year, we’re excited to set our first project under the banner,” said Chris Giliberti, head of Gimlet Pictures. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to take this step forward with Paul Lee and the wonderful Wiip team.”

Should the project find a network home, it would be the latest Gimlet podcast to become a TV series. Amazon has already given a two-season order to “Homecoming” starring Julia Roberts, based on the Gimlet podcast of the same name. The ABC comedy “Alex Inc.” starring Zach Braff is based on the Gimlet podcast “StartUp.” FX is also currently developing a series based on the company’s podcast “Crimetown.”

Wiip, which stands for word.idea.imagination.production, is led by former ABC Entertainment president Lee and supported by CAA. The studio announced last week that they had received a straight-to-series order for the dark comedy “Queen America” at Facebook Watch with Catherine Zeta-Jones set to star. Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories will serve as Wiip’s co-studio partner on that project.

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