‘I don’t want diversity programs to be charitable cases,’ says Hillman Grad CEO

Office With a View: Rishi Rajani, who co-founded the production company with Lena Waithe, says its diversity mission ‘has to make business sense’

One year ago, Hillman Graduate Productions (“The Chi”, “Queen & Slim”, “The Forty Year Old Version”, “Twenties”), which was founded by Lena Waithe and her partner Rishi Rajani with a mission to amplify diversity, signed a mega – contract with Warner Bros. Television Group, part of a two-year global agreement with Amazon Studios. The company’s first project, announced at the time of the deal, would be a drama series based on the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams.”

In April 2022, Discovery completed its $43 billion acquisition of Warner Media from AT&T, and in the wake of the deal, David Zaslav, president and CEO of the new Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), has come under fire for cutting the 40-year-old Warner Bros. Television Workshop, often a channel for various talents to enter the business. WBD quickly backed out of the plan after industry and public backlash, but the company’s commitment to diversity remains in question as Zaslav seeks to find more than $3 billion in savings in 2023.