EXCLUSIVE: Women Write Now fellow Wilandrea Blair has been awarded a first-look deal with NBCUniversal Television & Streaming to develop projects for Peacock, which will be produced by LOL Studios.
The announcement was made during a Women Write Now Celebration event which took place at NeueHouse Hollywood on Saturday, to honor fellowship recipients including Blair, Danielle Nicolet and Moni Oyedepo, and guest directors including Gabrielle Dennis (A Black Lady Sketch Show), Meagan GoodHarlem) and Bresha Webb (Run the World).
Launched in July 2021, Women Write Now is a comedic writing fellowship designed to champion and elevate the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production and exhibition. The program put on by Kevin Hart’s comedy brand and multi-platform entertainment company Laugh Out Loud was developed in partnership with the Sundance Institute, and is presented by Chase Sapphire. Blair, Nicolet and Oyedepo were selected from a pool of more than 670 applicants for the initiative’s first cycle, developing and producing their comedic scripts under the guidance and mentorship of award-winning filmmakers, industry leaders, Laugh Out Loud’s executives and production team, partners from the Sundance Institute and one of the three aforementioned guest directors.
The short films that resulted from the program—Buddy and Bernice (written by Blair, and directed by Dennis), Black Karen (written by Nicolet, and directed by Good) and Take the Job (written by Oyedepo, and directed by Webb) —are now streaming exclusively on Peacock. Following their completion, each fellow had the opportunity to pitch new projects to NBCUniversal and Laugh Out Loud executives for the chance to secure a development deal with NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, with Blair’s submission being selected from the three.
“Women Write Now was created from a simple insight – the burning notion that there should be more of Black women in the writer’s room, in the director’s seat, and in control of the green light,” said Laugh Out Loud President Thai Randolph. “It has been truly inspiring to see what started as the seed of an idea for a writing fellowship quickly blossom into a village of artists, allies, executives, mentors, and sponsors coming together to forge bonds as meaningful as the work produced.”
“Through our collaboration with Laugh Out Loud, we’ve worked together to support and amplify Black female comedy writers, providing them with opportunities to get their work made and exposed to tv and film executives,” said Michelle Satter, Founding Senior Director of the Sundance Institute’s Artist Programs. “Additionally, we are truly excited that the short films of our Inaugural group of writers have already had an enthusiastic response from audiences.”
“Since being selected for the Women Write Now Fellowship, I have been in a constant state of gratitude. The amazing fellowship founders from Laugh Out Loud, led by Thai Randolph, did not just develop a fellowship, they created a powerful team of the most influential, intelligent, and generous women in this industry, ”added Blair. “I’m just a Black chick from Flint with dreams of being a comedy writer. Women Write Now went above and beyond to affirm, empower, and actually put those dreams in motion. I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity with NBCUniversal and ready to keep putting in the work. ”
Laugh Out Loud and the Sundance Institute will be bringing the Women Write Now screenwriting fellowship back for a second year, with submissions opening on Monday, April 25. More information on the program and submission requirements can be found here.