Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Acquires SKR Productions, Sara Rea to Head Unscripted TV
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine has acquired Sara Rea’s SKR Productions, the company behind Amazon Studio’s “Making the Cut,” and is installing Rea as its head of unscripted television, marking an expansion into the unscripted space.
Rea is most recently known for her work as showrunner on the Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn-hosted “Making the Cut,” which incorporated an e-commerce element that allowed viewers to buy designers’ creations on Amazon Fashion after the premiere of each episode; their series with Amazon Studios followed a major migration from the trio’s nearly decade of work on “Project Runway.” SKR, which was launched in 2014, has also produced “Project Runway Threads,” “Project Runway Junior,” and “The Naked Truth,” among other series.
“Sara has led an incredibly talented team whose values and goals reflect everything we believe in at Hello Sunshine and I’m inspired by all they have accomplished,” said Witherspoon. “With shows like ‘Making the Cut,’ SKR has bridged television and the consumer experience in such an innovative way, opening up new possibilities for what content can do. I am beyond thrilled to welcome them to our team as we continue to grow and expand our mission to put women and underrepresented voices at the center.”
Rea’s team will be joining her at Hello Sunshine, including Sue Kinkead and Danielle Ghilardi Birckhead. Kinkead will become senior vice president of development, while Birckhead will step into the role of senior vice president of physical production & operations and work alongside Hello Sunshine CFO Liz Jenkins, who has been working to expand the company’s range of in-house physical production services. Tyler O’Neill and Elizabeth Sandroff will join Hello Sunshine as senior directors of development.
“I am inspired by what Reese and the Hello Sunshine team are creating,” said Rea. “That, in conjunction with us having such perfectly aligned goals, has all of us at SKR excited to join Hello Sunshine and grow the unscripted division. This is truly one of those rare one plus one equals ten opportunities, and we can’t wait to get to work.”Continue reading this entry »
‘The Morning Show’ Season 2 Casts Julianna Margulies
Julianna Margulies has joined the cast of “The Morning Show” Season 2, Variety has learned exclusively.
She will play Laura Peterson, an anchor at UBA News. She joins returning series stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon as well as Steve Carell, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Bel Powley, Karen Puttman, and Desean Terry. It was also previously announced that Greta Lee, Ruairi O’Connor, and Hasan Minhaj would also be joining the new season.
Margulies is one of the most critically-acclaimed television actresses working today. She has been nominated for 10 Emmy Awards throughout her career, of which she has won three for her time on “ER” and “The Good Wife.” She has also been nominated for 12 Golden Globe Awards, winning the award for best actress in a drama series for “The Good Wife.” Most recently, she appeared on the popular Showtime series “Billions” and starred in the first season of the Nat Geo series “The Hot Zone.” Her first literary project, “Sunshine Girl,” will debut on May 4, 2021.
She is repped by WME, Gendler & Kelly, and Wolf-Kasteler Public Relations.
“The Morning Show” is the flagship series of Apple’s streaming service. The show debuted last year and was nominated for multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, with Crudup winning the Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama. Aniston also won the SAG Award for best actress in a drama series.Continue reading this entry »
Variety’s L.A. Women’s Impact Report 2020
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:
Following the Legally Blonde reunion, MGM Studios announced that Legally Blonde 3 will be released in cinemas in May 2022!
— MGM Studios (@MGM_Studios) October 20, 2020
Watch the amazing Legally Blonde reunion below – and pay a visit to the organisation it’s in aid of at World Central Kitchen.
Reunions give you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people join host Reese, moderator Chloe Fineman, and the stellar cast of Legally Blonde for a reunion after 20 years of the film’s production. So tune in; what like it’s hard?
Mindy Kaling Shares an Update on Legally Blonde 3 With Reese Witherspoon
Mindy Kaling just gave fans a much-needed update on Legally Blonde 3 while speaking on Good Morning America on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The Office alum was recruited to write the sequel by none other than Elle Woods herself—that would be star Reese Witherspoon.
“I was nervous because the movie is so iconic. But then I thought, ‘It’d be really fun to see that character in her 40s. What is Elle Woods dealing with as a 41-year-old woman?'” Kaling said. “And it’s been really funny to write. And I’m working on it with my friend Dan [Goor], and I think it’s going to be a great movie for Reese and people are going to love to see her in this part.”
Witherspoon first confirmed that Legally Blonde 3 was happening in 2018. And Kaling explained how it all went down.
“I’d been working with her on a couple movies and we’ve been friends for a while. And I have always quoted the movies to her. I was that annoying friend that would be like, ‘Bend and snap’ to her,” she said. “And [Reese] asked me, ‘You know, I’d really love to revisit this character.'”
Kaling and Witherspoon both starred in A Wrinkle in Time in 2018 with Oprah Winfrey and in The Morning Show in 2019.Continue reading this entry »
‘The Morning Show’ To Resume Production On Season 2 With Steve Carell Returning To Apple Series
Apple’s The Morning Show is headed back to production. The award-winning series is slated to restart filming its second season on October 19. As is the case with any production during COVID, the date is tentative and subject to change.
Led by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show‘s Season 1 series-regular cast is coming back (sans Gugu Mbatha-Raw, for reasons related to her character’s storyline). That includes Steve Carell, who originally had signed a one-year deal. While his return had not been confirmed, The Morning Show producers had made it clear that they wanted him back and had indicated that they were pursuing a new deal with the actor.
The returning cast also includes Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Bel Powley, Karen Pittman and Desean Terry.
The Morning Show was in the final stages of filming the first two episodes of Season 2, which were being shot as a block, when production was suspended on March 12 amid the rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak. I hear Carell had yet to film his scenes in the opening episodes when the pandemic-related shutdown hit.Continue reading this entry »