Sister is adding another top executive/producer to the fold in Carolyn Strauss, who is joining the content venture co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone.
Strauss, who is moving her producing deal to Sister, is coming off a 34-year tenure at HBO where she has spent her entire career to date, from a temp through a slew of executive jobs, including entertainment president, to an Emmy-winning producer.
“HBO has been my home for 34 years and I could not love it more,” Strauss said. “The chance to evolve that relationship in the company of the extraordinary Sister team was too irresistible to pass up.”
Sister, which has built upon Featherstone’s scripted indie, Sister Pictures, was launched with the goal to make television and film projects with global appeal. Strauss fits right into that having championed and subsequently executive produced one of the biggest global TV hits ever, HBO’s Game Of Thrones.
Strauss originally partnered with Featherstone and Sister Pictures in 2015 to develop and produce the HBO limited series Chernobyl.
“Sister’s relationship with Carolyn was forged in the spirit of collaboration during the production of Chernobyl and since that time, our admiration and affection for her values and work has only deepened and grown,” the company’s CEO Snider said. “Carolyn already feels like a Sister: this just makes it official.”
Going forward, Strauss will exclusively executive produce TV projects for Sister, working with Featherstone, Snider Murdoch and the company’s Chief Creative Executive Kate Fenske. Strauss will both bring in projects from outside and work on shows currently under the Sister umbrella both in Los Angeles and London.
Outside of the deal, Strauss will continue to shepherd a couple of projects she has in development at HBO through her pact there. She has a close relationship with HBO Programming President Casey Bloys who started his tenure at the network working for her.
“I’ve worked with Carolyn since she hired me at HBO sixteen years ago, and it was great to see how she and Jane clicked on Chernobyl,” Bloys said. “We are thrilled that Carolyn has joined Sister and that we will get to continue to work together on upcoming projects to be announced soon.”
Strauss is coming off a rare trifecta, scoring nominations in three top Primetime Emmy categories last year — Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding TV Movie — as executive producer of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Chernobyl and Deadwood: The Movie. Of the three, GOT and Chernobyl went on to win.
Strauss joined HBO’s New York office in 1986 as a temp after graduating from Harvard with a history degree. She became an assistant, original programming, and moving up the ranks from there. Strauss was promoted to manager in 1989 and appointed VP in 1994. In 1999, she was named SVP, original programming. She was upped to EVP, original programming, in 2002, and entertainment president in 2004. In 2008, Strauss stepped down and segued to a producing deal with HBO.
In addition to GOT, which won a total of 59 Emmy Awards, including four best drama series trophies, Strauss executive produced the HBO drama series Treme and Luck.
While her chapter being based at HBO may be coming to an end, Strauss does not plan to end her relationship with the premium cable network, which gave their blessing to her move. “I hope to always be working with them, I will just do it in this way, with a crackerjack team,” she said.
At HBO and Sky, Sister has the upcoming series Landscapers starring Olivia Colman. The company’s slate also includes the BBC/Netflix series Giri/Haji, the upcoming BBC/AMC series This Is Going to Hurt, which just tapped Ben Whishaw to star, and an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s The Power for Amazon Studios.