The next Oprah? Reese Witherspoon to launch own TV channel

Witherspoon used to recommend compelling books by women through her Instagram, but now she also does it through the eponymous Reese’s Book Club. (This month’s pick is Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, though we wonder if Witherspoon will include her own book, Whiskey in a Teacup, when it hits shelves on September 18.)

The next Oprah? Reese Witherspoon's media empire is expanding.

The next Oprah? Reese Witherspoon’s media empire is expanding.


But you can’t really talk about Witherspoon’s book club without talking about her production company, Pacific Standard, which she co-founded with Australian producer Bruna Papandrea in 2012 (the two parted ways in 2016).

Witherspoon told the Hollywood Reporter that she started the company, now a subsidiary of Hello Sunshine, because she was frustrated with the “complete lack of interesting female leads in film.” In 2014, she brought two of the first books optioned by the company to the big screen: Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller Gone Girl, and Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild.

Gone Girl was a box office hit; Wild landed Witherspoon, who starred as Strayed, her second Oscar nomination. (She won for Walk the Line in 2006.)

Last year, Witherspoon’s reliable book recommendations gave us HBO’s award-winning Big Little Lies, not to mention a forthcoming season that will star Meryl Streep. Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, her Big Little Lies co-producer and co-star, also optioned Lianne Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty.

Witherspoon (centre) with Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies.

Witherspoon (centre) with Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies.

Photo: Supplied

And there are a slew of other projects in various stages of development. Witherspoon is producing and starring alongside Kerry Washington in a limited series adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, which received an eight-episode order from Hulu earlier this year.

Apple, which is priming to roll out a slate of original TV shows, has snagged three Witherspoon-produced series including Are You Sleeping, based on Kathleen Barber’s true-crime novel and set to star Octavia Spencer. Witherspoon will also co-produce a 10-episode comedy with Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig, who will be the show’s lead, and will co-produce and star alongside Jennifer Aniston in a drama about a morning show.

Hello Sunshine has also optioned Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and Catherine Steadman’s Something in the Water.

Outside of film and TV, Witherspoon has Draper James, a lifestyle brand, which sells upscale clothing, housewares and – it was announced Monday – eyewear.

“Our goal is to bring contemporary, yet timeliness Southern style to your wardrobe and your home,” Witherspoon explains on the Draper James website.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Witherspoon recently confirmed, in a cheeky Instagram, that there will be a third Legally Blonde movie.

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