9th December 2020

Emmy Winner Nicole Kassel Boards as Lead Director on SISTER's Darkly Comic Series The Baby for HBO and Sky

HBO and Sky have announced today that DGA and Emmy Award winner Nicole Kassell (Watchmen, The Leftovers) will board the HBO/Sky co-production The Baby as lead director. Kassell will also serve as an Executive Producer on the eight-episode first season. The darkly comic horror is produced by global content company SISTER (Giri/Haji, Chernobyl, Gangs of London) and Proverbial Pictures.

Also confirmed are writers Sophie Goodhart (Sex Education, My Brother Blind) Kara Smith (Kaos, Apple Tree House) Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl, Golden Shield) and Susan Soon He Stanton (HBO’s Emmy-winning Succession) who join Siân Robins-Grace (Kaos, Sex Education) in the writers’ room with Bisha K. Ali (Ms.Marvel, Sex Education) as consultant. The team are set to gleefully deconstruct the ‘joy of motherhood’ and explore the powerful anxiety of whether or not to have children.

Questioning who gets to choose and who doesn’t, The Baby is a funny, raw examination of motherhood as an institution: a set of unspoken and often horrifying rules that affect women differently depending on how they’re viewed by society. If you're not scared by that, you should be.

Nicole Kassell said: “I am beyond honored and thrilled to be reuniting with HBO and joining SKY and this incredible team to bring THE BABY to fruition. I read Sian’s brilliant script early in lock down, and it cut straight through the noise and anxiety of our times, to take me on a wild, zany ride with wonderfully complex women grappling with the toughest of decisions any of us are lucky enough to make – to have or not have a child. Embracing comedy AND horror the show catapults us through an incredible adventure all while tackling the real-life explosions that the question of procreation can have on the self, family and friendships. To be working with the powerhouse producers that are SISTER, all women whose work and careers I have long admired, is a life-long dream. I’m ever grateful to have Sian, Lucy, and Sister embrace my vision and trust me with their BABY.”

Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer said: "We can't believe our luck that Nicole's joining us on The Baby - her body of work speaks for itself. She's a spectacular collaborator and creative, and working with her is an education. Our phenomenal team of writers are bringing the full force of their talent to the story. We're surrounded by creative and technical brilliance, basically."

The eight-episode first season will be produced by SISTER and Proverbial Pictures and Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone (Chernobyl, GiriHaji), Carolyn Strauss (Chernobyl, Game of Thrones), Naomi de Pear (The Power, Flowers), Katie Carpenter (Landscapers, The Bisexual), Siân Robins-Grace (Kaos, Sex Education) and Nicole Kassell (Watchmen, The Leftovers) with Lucy Gaymer (credits as Production Manager include Gangs of London, Liar) producing. The Baby is Robins-Grace’s screenwriting debut, following her work on critically-acclaimed hit Sex Education which she developed with Creator Laurie Nunn.

The series is a co-production between HBO and Sky and will be filmed in the UK in 2021.


Award-winning director and producer Nicole Kassell is known for her bold aesthetic and dynamic visuals that have made her one of Hollywood’s most in-demand filmmakers today. Kassell most recently directed the pilot, second, and eighth episode HBO’s critically acclaimed series WATCHMEN, in addition to executive producing the entire season. For WATCHMEN, she won the 2020 DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series, 2020 Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series and was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series for the show’s pilot episode. Nicole has directed the TNT pilot CLAWS and episodes of THE LEFTOVERS, WEST WORLD, CASTLE ROCK, THE AMERICANS, AMERICAN CRIME, VINYL, BETTER CALL SAUL, THE KILLING, THE FOLLOWING, and RECTIFY. Nicole’s first feature film THE WOODSMAN was co-written by Kassell and Steven Fechter, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, was distributed by Newmarket Films, and continued on to win multiple awards. Next up, Kassell will direct the feature film SILVER SEAS for Participant Media.


Siân acted as Co-Executive Producer for showrunner Charlie Covell on her upcoming Netflix series Kaos. Prior to this Siân worked at Eleven as Head of Development where she developed the hit Netflix series Sex Education with Creator Laurie Nunn and worked on Sky hit series The Enfield Haunting.


Lucy has been working as a freelance Line Producer/Production Manager. Previous credits include The Witchfinder (BBC2), Wonderdate (BBC3), Living in Fear (Sky), Gangs of London (Sky), Liar (ITV) and True Horror (C4). She also worked in house at Carnival (Downton, The Last Kingdom, Stan Lee) and Eleven (Sex Education, Gap Year, The Enfield Haunting).


HBO® is one of the most respected and innovative entertainment brands in the world, serving iconic, award-winning programming to more than 38 million U.S. subscribers* through HBO and the direct-to-consumer streaming platform, HBO Max®. A subsidiary of WarnerMedia, HBO is the world’s most successful pay TV service with an extensive array of programming that includes some of the most notable television titles, including dramas like “Succession,” “Watchmen,” “Westworld,” “Big Little Lies,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” “Band of Brothers” and “The Wire,” as well as comedy series “Barry,” “Insecure” and “Sex and the City.” In the United States, HBO is available across multiple platforms including HBO On Demand® and HBO Max. Internationally, HBO branded services are available in more than 85 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. HBO and Cinemax programming is also sold into more than 155 countries and territories worldwide.

*Subscriber number as of October 22, 2020


Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love - TV, music, games, online video, fitness and educational content, all in one place, easy. Our streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, I Hate Suzie and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, while Sky Arts, the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel, makes the arts accessible for everyone. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years alone.

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve put in place a new programme to invest £30million across our markets over the next three years to tackle racial injustice.


SISTER was co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone to develop, produce and invest in visionary creators. SISTER builds upon Featherstone’s Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning scripted indie, Sister Pictures, as a new independent global studio with offices in London and LA. It unites the expertise of the founders alongside a team of renowned creatives to make breakout stories across all forms of media. As well as producing hit shows including Chernobyl (Sky/HBO) and Giri/Haji (BBC/ Netflix), SISTER has made a series of bold investments in new creator-led businesses including Zando, an ambitious new publishing venture from Molly Stern, The Springhill Company, founded by LeBron James and MaverickCarter, Campside Media, a podcast studio, and AWA Studios, a comic book and digital media publisher.