The past few months has been such a dynamic time for this industry that it has been a challenge keeping up with all the realignments while putting together this year’s report. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has accelerated change, disrupting business models and personal lives. Still, the L.A.- based women on this list have found ways to innovate, and many are hopeful for the future.
(The women of) Hello Sunshine Sarah Harden, CEO Lauren Neustadter, head of film & TV Reese Witherspoon, founder
Any lingering doubts about Hello Sunshine’s producing acumen have surely faded with the streamer launches of “The Morning Show” on Apple TV Plus and “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu, which garnered 13 Emmy nominations between them. The second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” also received five noms, bringing Hello Sunshine’s nomination haul to 18 this year. “Morning Show” co-star Billy Crudup ultimately snagged a supporting actor Emmy, the first Emmy win for the fledgling Apple TV Plus service, while Jennifer Aniston won a SAG trophy for her performance. A second season of “The Morning Show” is in the works, with key talent returning.
Witherspoon, who co-starred in all three, founded Hello Sunshine four years ago to focus on female-led stories. And it turns out having a woman propel a narrative — be it a novel, a television show or a film — isn’t such a bad idea from a financial or creative standpoint. Hello Sunshine has projects in the works at Amazon, Apple, Hulu, Netflix HBO, MGM, Starz and HBO Max. Books — some of which are selected for Witherspoon’s affiliated book club — are often the basis of television projects or movies produced by the company.
“When we set out to build the company, we knew we had a worthy mission that was important,” says CEO Harden. “But we also knew it was good business.”
“When I started Hello Sunshine, I often found myself talking to people about female representation and saw blank faces staring back at me,” Witherspoon says. “That doesn’t happen as much now, and there’s definitely momentum in Hollywood to diversify storytelling.”
The company has doubled down on optimistic storytelling in the wake of the pandemic. “As quarantine has made clear, people want to be entertained and sometimes need a reprieve from bad news,” Witherspoon says. “We want to give them uplifting and hopeful TV shows and films.” Adds Neustadter: “Hope is an essential ingredient. The character can go through really challenging stuff, but we always want to show our audience that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Reese joined Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman & Will Arnett for the October 26th episode of their podcast ‘Smartless’ earlier this week. They talked about their experiences and process on set as actors/directors/producers, Reese’s childhood, her book club and the changing nature of media, Kamala Harris, Reese’s political aspirations, parenting/mental health during the global pandemic, and her retirement plan. It’s a good interview – listen below:
Advertising and marketing company AdWeek have honoured Reese in their 2020 Hot List and she is on the cover of their October 26th 2020 magazine cover to mark this! The magazine used additional photos from the Emmy magazine photoshoot that was published earlier in the year, and features a new interview in which Reese talked about growing her business and working to be taken seriously as a producer. Read the article below, and find the scans in our Gallery. Congratulations to Reese on being recognised for her fantastic work again!
The 2020 Hot List: Honoring the Year’s Best in TV, Publishing, Digital and Brands
When the pandemic forced us all to begin sheltering in place in March, we leaned on TV, publishing and digital brands more than ever before to connect us with the outside world. So it’s no surprise that Adweek’s annual Hot List, which always honors the best in those three categories, is full of people and brands who were at their best when so many things seemed at their worst.
Take Adweek’s Media Visionary Reese Witherspoon, who has turned Hollywood on its head by creating a successful media company, Hello Sunshine, focused on female-centric stories—for a variety of platforms.
Our TV Creator of the Year, Jon Favreau, helped get Disney+ off to a hot start with The Mandalorian, while TV Executive of the Year, TLC president Howard Lee, showed that linear networks still have plenty of fight in them.
Digital Creator of the Year Sarah Cooper turned her popular President Trump lip-syncs on TikTok and Twitter into a Netflix comedy special, and Digital Executive of the Year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is helping lead the charge against lies and hate speech on social media.
Get Organised With The Home Edit – the new home improvement reality series that Reese produced through Hello Sunshine – premiered on Netflix earlier this month. Reese appeared in the opening episode, and the hosts Clea and Joanna organised Reese’s closet with her movie, TV series and red carpet outfits/memorabilia. Reese has an impressive collection of outfits from Big Little Lies and Legally Blonde in particular, and it was so fun to see her look back through them! The finished closet looked amazing too!
Find The Home Edit team on Instagram, and watch the show on Netflix.
Reese Witherspoon, Khloe Kardashian and More Stars Get Amazing Organization Makeovers on New Show
Celebrities may have immaculately decorated homes, but behind their closet doors, they can be just as messy as the rest of us.
On the new Netflix series Get Organized with The Home Edit, professional organizers, authors and founders of The Home Edit Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin dig into stars’ overstuffed closets, disastrous playrooms and about-to-topple pantries to transform them into immaculately organized spaces.
In each of the 8 episodes dropping on September 9, the Nashville-based entrepreneurs will tackle the disorganized space of one star and one regular family.
While Shearer and Teplin have already wracked up an impressive roster of celebrity fans that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Kacey Musgraves and Dan Levy, to name a few, even more boldface names will be popping up on Get Organized.
Reese Witherspoon (who is also the show’s executive producer), Rachel Zoe, Khloe Kardashian, Eva Longoria, Marietta “Retta” Sirleaf, Jordana Brewster, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, and Kane and Katelyn Brown all pop up on the series.
As the duo’s 1.6 million Instagram followers have come to expect, they’ll tackle each client’s space with professionalism, poise, and plenty of sass — and no doubt employ some of the signature tactics that have earned them a cult following, like rainbow ordering, abundant use of clear plastic bins, and enviable hand-lettered labels.
Fans that can’t wait for the premiere, can study up in the meantime. The pair have also released two books: The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals and The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything.
Get Organized with The Home Edit will be available to stream September 9 on Netflix.
Kerry Washington guest hosted US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, and had Reese on as a guest. They talked about Reese’s Emmy nominations, how the virtual awards ceremony is going to work this year, Deacon, embarrassing her kids, her first business in the third-grade, and failure:
Join Reese as she takes a trip down memory lane and thanks author Marian Wright Edelman for her inspiring book, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours.
Hello Sunshine x Mailchimp present: Book Shook. A series where powerful women discuss the books that moved them, changing their lives just when they needed it most. Join us on their journeys well beyond the page.
Apple Orders Country Music Competition Series With Reese Witherspoon Producing
Apple is getting into the music competition series space.
The streamer has ordered the series “My Kind of Country,” which will feature a global search for country music talent. Per Apple, the series will feature a documentary component as it hunts for “unconventional and extraordinary” country music stars.
Adam Blackstone will serve as the musical director on the series. Blackstone has previously worked with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Faith Hill, Rihanna, and Tim McGraw.
Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter, and Cynthia Stockhammer will executive produce via Hello Sunshine. Jason Owen, president and CEO of Sandbox Entertainment, will also serve as executive producer alongside Izzie Pick Ibarra, the showrunner behind “The Masked Singer” and “Dancing With the Stars.” Done + Dusted’s Katy Mullan and Melanie Fletcher will also executive produce.
“My Kind of Country” now marks the third project Hello Sunshine has set up at Apple. The company currently produces the drama series “The Morning Show,” in which Witherspoon also stars. The show was recently nominated for eight Emmy Awards. Hello Sunshine also produces the Apple drama series “Truth Be Told” starring Octavia Spencer. “The Morning Show” received a two season order when it was first picked up by Apple, while “Truth Be Told” was renewed for a second season back in March.
“My Kind of Country” is the first competition series ordered by Apple TV Plus, but it is not the first time that Apple has produced a competition series. Apple Music previously aired the show “Planet of the Apps,” in which software makers would pitch their product ideas to a panel of experts. The show was canceled after one season in 2017.
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