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Amazon Makes Big Play for Faith-Based Content

Amazon MGM Studios is getting spiritual.

The company announced Wednesday that it’s brokered a partnership with the recently formed Wonder Project, which bills itself as an independent studio designed to “develop series and films rooted in spirituality.” The latter is led by veteran producer Jon Erwin (Jesus Revolution) and former Netflix and YouTube exec Kelly Merryman Hoogstraten, and counts The Chosen creator Dallas Jenkins among its largest shareholders and special advisers. As part of the new pact, Prime Video has already ordered its first project, House of David, to series.

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Per Amazon, the logline reads: “House of David follows the once-mighty King Saul as he falls victim to his own pride. A prophet prepares to overthrow him — anointing the outcast shepherd boy David as a second king. As Saul’s fury grows, David navigates love, violence and politics in the court of the very man he’s destined to replace. Two kings. One Kingdom. The outcome is war.”

The streamer can only hope the potential fan base for this story and the company’s other “values-driven” content is as rabid as Jenkins’ is for The Chosen, some of whom have watched on Prime Video. The latter — which follows the life of Jesus, played by Jonathan Roumie, as seen through the eyes of his followers — is set to roll out its fourth season theatrically over several weeks in February, before releasing the episodes on the Chosen app and other platforms.

“When we met with Jon, Kelly and Dallas, their clear and passionate vision for The Wonder Project and their ambition to nurture universal stories of love, triumph and spirituality moved us,” Amazon MGM Studios’ head of TV Vernon Sanders said in a statement. “We are very excited about the scope, scale and storytelling involved with House of David and look forward to sharing this epic and many others with our global Prime Video customers.”

Added Merryman Hoogstraten, “Our goal at The Wonder Project is to tell stories that restore faith in things worth believing in, and to do this at scale. We’ve been blown away by Amazon’s commitment to help us do this — both through the significant resources they are dedicating and their trust in us to tell these stories authentically to our audience.”

House of David is based on an idea by Erwin, who also serves as an executive producer along with Chad Oaks, Mike Frislev and Jonathan Walker. Justin Rosenblatt will serve as the executive in charge of production on behalf of The Wonder Project. The series is also produced by Nomadic Pictures and Argonauts, along with Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate Television. The latter also has worldwide distribution rights to all seasons of The Chosen.

The Wonder Project formally launched late last year with a reported $75 million in seed and Series A funding raised from players including Sovereign’s Capital, Lionsgate, Powerhouse Capital, United Talent Agency (which also reps Jenkins) and uber-producer Jason Blum.

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