25 Stories Launched with Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman under CBS Studios
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CBS Studios has established a new multiplatform production entity 25 Stories, a partnership with Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman aimed at amplifying voices of color and creating sustainable career paths, from staff writer to showrunner. The new studio pod will be led by veteran network executive Bruce Evans, who joins as executive vice president.
In the new venture, CBS Studios will support Lumet, Kurtzman and Evans as they develop content for linear, premium cable and streaming platforms. Lumet already has an overall deal with the Studio, as does Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout (run by Heather Kadin), one of the largest and most well-respected independent producers in the marketplace. 25 Stories is being built independently of Secret Hideout, with its own team and objectives.
“25 Stories began in my kitchen in 2017 during a marathon screenwriting weekend for about 25 women of color, all extraordinary writers,” said Lumet. “I knew I wanted to bring prestige television by writers of color to the marketplace, and I began to think about how to create a space where marginalized voices are centered. A space where both seasoned and newer voices have room to breathe. I thought a lot about scale: intimate stories, family stories, positive stories. I wanted people to emerge from their experience with 25 Stories with the tools to start their own companies. Ultimately, a space that will launch creators. Those 25 writers in my kitchen led me right here.”
Kurtzman said: “I’ve been so lucky to do work I’m proud of in collaboration with brilliant people. The best way to stand up for everything Jenny and I believe in is to stand behind the mission of 25 Stories. Creating a company solely dedicated to this mission felt like an important next step, to expand on the work we’ve done at Secret Hideout. We’re thrilled Bruce is joining us, and we’re grateful to CBS Studios for believing in this effort enough to make it a reality.”
“It is imperative for us as a studio to support the growth of diverse storytelling, by providing a nurturing environment for creative voices to emerge and thrive. This new imprint is in line with the evolving goals of the studio to be more diverse, thoughtfully inclusive, and strategically equitable in telling more kinds of stories,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Studios. “And no one is better suited to support those voices than Jenny, Alex and Bruce. Their combination of experience and creative acumen makes them the ideal trio to lead this venture. We’re honored to be the home of this new and important company.”
Evans is a leader in the industry’s efforts to increase diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Notably, Evans joined forces with his peers and co-founded Colour Entertainment, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of diverse professionals in all aspects of the entertainment community. Mr. Evans still passionately continues his efforts in this regard and serves on the board as its vice president.
Evans most recently served as Executive Vice President, Current Programming, NBC Entertainment. At NBC, Evans worked on series such as “This Is Us,” “Manifest,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Good Place,” “New Amsterdam,” “The Blacklist,” “Grimm,” “Blindspot” and the entire Dick Wolf-produced “Chicago” and “Law and Order” franchises. Additionally, Evans has worked with some of the top names in the industry, such as Dan Fogelman, Mike Schur, Eric Kripke, Shawn Ryan, Warren Leight, Neal Baer, Mindy Kaling, Martin Gero, Dan Goor, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, Jeff Rake, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, to name a few.
Lumet is an accomplished writer and showrunner. She is co-creator and co-showrunner of the upcoming THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, and co-created CLARICE with Kurtzman. Also in partnership with Kurtzman, she co-wrote the episode “Runaway” for the Emmy-nominated series STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS and is an executive producer on STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and a co-creator and executive producer with Kurtzman and Akiva Goldman on STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. In addition, Ms. Lumet serves as creator, executive producer and writer on Showtime’s “Blackbird: Lena Horne and America,” which is based on the life of her grandmother, the incomparable entertainer and activist Lena Horne.
In the world of film, Lumet wrote the screenplay for “Rachel Getting Married,” for which she received a 2008 NAACP Image Award, the 2008 New York Film Critics Circle Award, 2008 Toronto Film Critics Association Award and 2008 Washington D.C Film Critics Association Award. She is also the writer of the screen adaptations of The Center Cannot Hold and The Language of Flowers, and she served as a script doctor on the films “Remember Me,” “Bobbie Sue,” “Honeymoon with Harry” and “The Mummy.” She’s also written several other original screenplays, including “Kingdom of Louie” and “Sambo.”
Lumet generated and lead the first Diversity Caucus when she served on the council of the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) and served on the board of the Writers Guild Initiative. She is an executive director of Bindercon, a conference for women and non-gender-conforming writers, and holds screenwriting seminars for women of color and women over 40.
Kurtzman is responsible for spearheading the production of the entire “Star Trek” canon for CBS Studios, including the award-winning STAR TREK: DISCOVERY; the critically acclaimed STAR TREK: PICARD, featuring Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard; STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS; the upcoming animated STAR TREK: PRODIGY, in partnership with Nickelodeon, that will expand the franchise to young kids; and for 2022, STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS, featuring beloved characters Pike, Spock and Number One. In addition, Secret Hideout is in development on a “Star Trek” project based on “Section 31,” with Michelle Yeoh attached to star and to be run by Craig Sweeney.
Kurtzman also served as executive producer of the limited series “The Comey Rule,” based on the James Comey book A Higher Loyalty, which premiered September 2020 on Showtime. He will also serve as executive producer on the series “Kavalier and Clay,” an adaptation of Michael Chabon’s acclaimed novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Kurtzman also serves as an executive producer and co-creator with Jenny Lumet on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, which will air on Showtime and feature multiple episodes directed by Kurtzman.
Outside of TV, Kurtzman has co-written some of the decade’s biggest films, including “Star Trek,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “The Amazing Spider Man 2,” “Transformers” and “Mission: Impossible III,” and has directed films such as “The Mummy” and “People Like Us.” Additionally, he executive produced the romantic comedy “The Proposal” as well as the “Now You See Me” franchise. Overall, his writing and producing credits have earned over $4 billion worldwide.