Just ten days ago, it was announced that Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington were teaming to produce and star in an eight-episode drama based on Celeste Ng’s book LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, and now streaming giant Hulu has won a bidding war to stream the series on the network.
A premiere date hasn’t been set yet, but the limited series received a straight-to-order series after Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine snatched up the rights to Ng’s book before it was published last year and brought it to Washington and her Simpson Street banner.
They, in turn brought it to writer Liz Tigelaar (Casual), who will adapt the book and act as showrunner. Tracy Underwood from ABC Signature Studios was also brought in, and it will act as exec. producer of the show along with the actor’s production companies. Ng will also act as a producer on the series.
Apparently, networks interested in the project had to go to the Hello Sunshine officers to pitch rather than Witherspoon, Washington, Tigelaar and Underwood having to travel around town pitching, but it makes sense when you have that sort of prestige and clout involved in a project.
Ng’s book follows the story of the Richardson family whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of a mother and daughter.
“Celeste wove a beautiful, riveting story that spoke to all of us, and when we heard the vision Reese, Kerry and Liz have for the series, we knew immediately that we had to bring it to Hulu,” said Hulu chief content officer Joel Stillerman in a statement. “We’re honored to bring this powerful story to the screen with Hello Sunshine, in their first studio project. This is exactly the type of compelling and culturally relevant content that embodies our Hulu Originals brand.”
Little Fires Everywhere continues Witherspoon’s foray into television after acting and producing HBO’s multiple Emmy-winning Big Little Lies, which will return for a second season next year. Witherspoon will also exec. produce and star opposite Jennifer Aniston in an untitled morning show for Apple, while Hello Sunshine is also exec. producing another Apple straight-to-series comedy starring Kristen Wiig and developing Octavia Spencer’s Are You Sleeping.
Also repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson and with Washington Square Films, Washington will follow-up her long seven-season run as Olivia Pope on the Shonda Rhimes ABC drama Scandal, for which she won an Emmy, on April 19.
Washington also starred and exec. produced the Emmy-nominated HBO film Confirmation, for which she earned another Emmy nomination playing Anita Hill. Recently, she exec. produced the ABC comedy pilot Man of the House and the Facebook Watch show Five Points.
Both Witherspoon and Washington made statements about joining forces with Hulu.
Witherspoon said, “At Hello Sunshine, we strive to shine a light on female-driven stories that are rooted in inspiration, emotion and truth – all of which form the bedrock of Celeste Ng’s ingenious work. Hulu has a rich history of transforming groundbreaking literature into groundbreaking television, and we are confident that their talented team will use this story to spur a long-overdue dialogue around race, class, and what it means to be a mother. With Kerry Washington, Liz Tigelaar and now Hulu, Hello Sunshine has brought together a dream lineup of creative collaborators, and we are privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to work with them to bring this important project to life.”
While Washington added, “As producers, we at Simpson Street are so proud to be part of this team to tell this extraordinary story inspired by Celeste Ng’s phenomenal novel and we are thrilled to be embarking on this journey with Hulu. As an actress, I am floored to have the opportunity to work alongside Reese Witherspoon exploring the rich themes of this story playing these dynamic characters.”
Little Fires Everywhere will join a series of recently-announced Hulu originals including the George Clooney limited series based on Catch-22, as well as existing series The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, The Looming Tower and more.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor