Tag Archives: Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios grows teams in SA, Nigeria

Gangs of Lagos

Amazon Studios is continuing its push into the African market with the addition of several executives to its original development teams in South Africa and Nigeria.

Mike-Steve Adeleye has been named senior scripted creative executive for Nigeria and Kemi Lala Akindoju has been appointed senior movies creative executive for the country.

Joining its South African originals team are Kaye Ann Williams, who will serve as head of scripted and movies, and Brendan Gabriel, senior unscripted creative executives.

All four execs will work on the team led by Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Amazon Prime Video’s principal head of content in Africa.

The appointments come one month after Amazon Prime Video launched a local version of its service in Nigeria.

Key upcoming titles on the local service are crime drama Gangs of Lagos and comedy format LOL: Last One Laughing Naija.

Produced by Jade Osiberu and Kemi Lala Akindoju and coproduced by Akin Omotoso, Gangs of Lagos follows a group of friends growing up on the streets of Nigeria’s largest city. The cast includes Tobi Bakre and Adesua Etomi-Wellington.

LOL: Last One Laughing Naija is a local adaptation of Japanese format LOL. The show sees 10 comedians attempting to make each other laugh, with the winner being the comedian who refrains from laughing for the longest time. The Nigerian version will be hosted by comedian Basketmouth.

Williams was formerly the head of local production and independent films at broadcasting company MultiChoice in South Africa, while Gabriel joins Amazon Studios from The Africa Channel, where he was senior VP of global content.

Akindoju was previously CEO of Nigeria’s The Make It Happen Productions and Adeleye was at MultiChoice in Nigeria, serving most recently as head of content for West Africa.

Ned Mitchell, Amazon Studios’ head of originals for Africa and the Middle East, said: “This immensely talented group joins with the singular goal of building Africa’s premiere studio and home for talent.

“Together with our colleagues and partners, we are at work to deliver authentic, premium and beloved hit scripted and unscripted series and movies to our local and global audiences.”

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Amazon Studios gathers Ajayi’s Riches

Amazon Studios has boarded the previously announced drama series Riches from London-based prodco Greenacre Films and UK commercial broadcaster ITV, starring British-Nigerian actress Deborah Ayorinde.

Deborah Ayorinde

The six-part drama will premiere on ITV in the UK, while Amazon’s Prime Video will carry the series in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Nordics and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The project, created and written by Abby Ajayi (How to Get Away With Murder), recently went into production in London after receiving a green light last year. It was commissioned by Polly Hill, head of drama at ITV.

Riches follows the exploits of a brash, successful and wealthy family and stars Ayorinde (Them, Truth Be Told) as the estranged daughter of a self-made millionaire played by Ghanaian-born British actor Hugh Quarshie. Sarah Niles, Brendan Coyle and Hermione Norris also star.

Hugh Quarshie

The series is produced by Greenacre Films in association with Monumental Television, with Amazon Studios credited as coproducing in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Nordics and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nadine Marsh-Edwards and Amanda Jenks are executive producers for Greenacre Films, with Alison Owen and Alison Carpenter exec producing for ITV-backed Monumental Television. Directors on the project are Sebastian Thiel, Darcia Martin and Ajayi, a British screenwriter of Nigerian heritage.

Banijay Rights is handling international distribution on behalf of Greenacre Films. The companies have had a first-look distribution deal since 2019.

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