EXCLUSIVE: After Paul Lee rearranged his top programming executives in June, ABC and ABC Studios have now made more tweaks to their teams. The biggest one — Michael McDonald is being promoted to SVP drama development for ABC Studios and will head the studio’s drama department. The post had been vacant since June when previous drama topper Patrick Moran was elevated to Head of Creative Development for the studio as part of the executive restructuring. McDonald, whose deal is still being finalized, most recently served as VP drama current series for ABC Studios. With his promotion, both ABC’s drama and comedy departments are heading into the new development season with new leaders. Amy Hartwick was named SVP comedy development for the studio in June.
ABC Studios’ drama department is getting additional reinforcement: Emily Cummins, formerly of Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road, is joining as VP drama development. Spike TV’s highest-ranking scripted executive, Dustin Davis, will be joining ABC as director in the network’s current department. (Spike’s other scripted exec, Laurence Sullivan, already left for Conan O’Brien’s Conaco production company as the cable network is putting scripted development on hold.) Also in ABC’s current department, Karin Dubiel is being promoted from coordinator to manager. Meanwhile, Zack Olin, executive director current programming for ABC, has moved to ABC Studio’s comedy development department as executive director.
In his previous position as VP current, McDonald oversaw studios’ series Castle, Happy Endings and the upcoming Good Christian Belles, Revenge and Scandal. Before that, he was involved in the development of ABC Studios’ Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Reaper and Commander in Chief. Before joining ABC Studios he worked at UPN, where he developed Kevin Hill and Veronica Mars and oversaw current for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was also VP of Television at Sam Raimi’s Renaissance Pictures, where he served as producer on the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.