Barry Jenkins Inks a New Television Deal With Amazon Studios

Illustration for article titled Barry Jenkins Inks a New Television Deal With Amazon Studios
Photo: Tim P. Whitby (Getty Images for BFI)

Do you think the heads of the broadcast television channels are shaking in their boots at this point over the incredible threat that streaming services have become when it comes to programming? If not, they should be. Netflix and Hulu have already shown they can create sustainable series that people want to watch, and Amazon is moving into that territory right along with them.


So it makes sense that Amazon Studios would ink a first-look deal with Hollywood success story Barry Jenkins that has everyone talking.

Jenkins, who won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Picture with his film Moonlight, was already on board to direct all 11 episodes of the Amazon Studios limited series The Underground Railroad—based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name.

The new deal with Amazon will be for Jenkins to develop television series for Amazon Prime Video.

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, said “Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us. We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.


Jenkins said “We at Pastel are excited to continue our Amazon relationship begun on Underground Railroad and look forward to growing that partnership on projects near and beyond.”

Pastel is the production company Jenkins founded with Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy and Mark Ceryak. The company is executive producing The Underground Railroad along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B.


Jenkins was the first black filmmaker in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture for Moonlight. His next feature, If Beale Street Could Talk, received critical acclaim when it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. Based on the novel by James Baldwin, the film will open in theaters later this month.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.



This is great news. I can’t find out how much Woody Allen got to write a six episode series that even he hated, but I want Jenkins to get a lot more than that. And I want him to have a multi-picture deal like Allen.

I also want a reality TV special where Allen literally hands his Amazon money to Jenkins in low-denomination bills and Megyn hands her NBC money to Tamron Hall while black people make paper airplanes out of his old movie posters and make black santa cards for Megyn. Then everybody sits at a buffet eating black people food while Allen and Megyn sit at the children’s table eating lowfat plain yogurt.