EXCLUSIVE: Following her brief stint as head of programming for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Jamila Hunter is returning to the broadcast side as VP comedy development for ABC. Meanwhile, Tracy Underwood has joined ABC Studios as VP drama development. Hunter will report to ABC SVP comedy Samie Kim Falvey; Underwood to ABC Studios SVP drama Patrick Moran. The hires appear to be a result from the restructuring to restore the network and the studio’s current departments, which ABC started just before president Steve McPherson’s sudden departure. ABC’s VP comedy Lynn Barrie was tapped to lead the network’s current department, and ABC Studios’ VP drama Stephanie Leifer took over current at the studio, creating vacancies in the 2 development departments.
Hunter stepped down as OWN’s head of programming in March, nine months after she joined the Oprah Winfrey/Discovery cable upstart and shortly after the arrival of Lisa Erspamer as chief creative officer. Before OWN, Hunter served as SVP, NBC alternative and digital programming where she was involved in the re-branding of Bravo and the creation of such NBC reality franchises including The Apprentice, Fear Factor and Last Comic Standing. Before that, she was VP comedy development for 20th TV. She has also held positions as VP development and production at Bravo and VP alternative programming at NBC. Underwood comes from the feature world. She was most recently with Vendome Pictures, an independent feature film financier and production company where she brought in the first production, Source Code, a Jake Gyllenhaal-starring feature which will be released by Summit Entertainment next year. Prior to that, she ran Jason Blum’s production company during their three year deal at Paramount and worked with John Wells for 6 years on the feature side of his Warner Bros based production company.