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Shaka King Will Develop Series for FX After Signing First Look Deal

The "Judas and the Black Messiah" director will "turn his attention to TV" and produce series for FX.

Shaka King in Dumbo, New York on 1/21/2021 CR: Andre D. Wagner

Shaka King

Andre D. Wagner

Shaka King, whose “Judas and the Black Messiah” won two Oscars this year, is heading to FX. The writer, director, and producer will develop new series for the company after signing a first look deal with FX Productions.

Terms of the deal, including its length, have not been made public. King will develop and produce content for FX under his shingle I’d Watch That, which was recently co-founded by King and Brandon Harris, most recently a development executive for Amazon Studios.

“We at FX have long been fans of Shaka King’s work and are honored to partner with him and his production company to create groundbreaking new television series,” said Nick Grad, FX’s president of original programming. “Shaka’s stunning feature ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ rightfully garnered enormous attention and praise, the culmination of years devoted to honing his talents as a writer, director and producer, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for him to turn his attention to TV.”

Projects produced under the deal could air on any network or platform, including FX’s linear channels and FX on Hulu.

The deal is a major win for FX owner Disney. King’s profile skyrocketed this year after “Judas” was released by Warner Bros. It marked his second feature directorial effort, a follow-up to his 2013 low-budget debut that earned a lukewarm critical and commercial reception out of Sundance. King has described that experience as part of an overall attitude of hostility toward Black films and filmmakers by Hollywood.

That film, “Newlyweeds,” didn’t attract much attention from Hollywood after it was released eight years ago (it sold to a Canadian distributor for just $25,000). After that experience, King began working on a script for “Judas and the Black Messiah” with Will Berson and Ryan Coogler, who produced the film.

Before it was set up at Warner Bros., the team had to field many lowball offers from studios.

The movie, starring Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, earned six Oscar nominations and won two, including Best Supporting Actor for Kaluuya. It marked the first time a film from an all-Black producing team was nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars’ 93 years.

With the King deal, FX (and it’s corporate sibling Hulu) has landed one of the hottest rising filmmakers. Besides his two features, King has just a few writing and directing credits on shows like “High Maintenance” and “Shrill.” The FX deal offers him a TV canvas at a company that is committed to competing with HBO in the prestige space.

Besides the FX deal, King is set to re-team with Ryan Coogler on a movie centered around an unidentified American political insurrection.

Harris most recently worked as a development executive for Amazon Studios, where he oversaw production of “Master,” “The Voyeurs,” and acquisition of festival films including “Blow the Man Down,” and the Oscar-nominated “Time.”

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