Issa Rae is sticking with HBO.
Rae has reupped her commitment, inking an new five-year overall deal that brings her Hoorae media label in partnership with WarnerMedia. 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.
Rae previously signed an two-year overall deal with HBO in 2016, ahead of the debut of “Insecure,” renewing the pact in 2018 for three more years.
“It’s really exciting to have that flexibility and just deepen the relationship that we already have,” Rae tells 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.”
She adds: “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.”
Sources tell Variety that the pact is valued at $40 million over five years, putting Rae’s payday in line with fellow multi-hyphenate creator Donald Glover’s lucrative new overall deal with Amazon. Rae and WarnerMedia declined to comment on the value of the deal.
By renewing (and expanding) its partnership with Rae, Warners adds her to its top talent list, which boasts exclusive deals with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Greg Berlanti. HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys explained why it was a priority for the brand to continue to be in the Issa Rae business.
“She’s obviously very talented and she’s very prolific,” he says. “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 adds that “Insecure” has had a broadening effect on HBO’s audience based on its younger and more diverse cast and creatives. Since taking over at HBO Max, he’s noticed that the comedy is one of the first shows that people tune into when they sign up for the 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.”
Rae is currently filming the fifth and final season of the hit HBO comedy “Insecure” and has a second season of Robin Thede’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (Rae is an exec. producer) in the works.
Upcoming television projects include the docuseries “Seen & Heard” and the backyard wrestling drama “Tre Cnt” (produced with Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions) at HBO, as well as the hip hop comedy “Rap Sh*t” at HBO Max. On the film side, Rae’s Hoorae label has a “Set It Off” remake in the works at New Line (a subsidiary of Warner Bros.).
Rae is repped by AM PR Group, UTA, 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry, and attorney John Meigs.