EXCLUSIVE: Nastaran Dibai has been elevated to executive producer/showrunner of Malibu Country. This is the first showrunner gig for Dibai, who had been a co-executive producer on the ABC/ABC Studios freshman comedy since after the pilot. Dibai succeeds Malibu Country creator/executive producer Kevin Abbott who left the series a month ago when he checked himself into rehab. Abbott, who also serves as an executive producer of ABC’s Last Man Standing, has just completed his treatment. He will resume his duties as an executive producer of Last Man Standing but won’t be back on Malibu Country, at least for the foreseeable future. ABC and ABC Studios had put the succession plan with Dibai in place when Abbott originally left and opted not to shake things up again on a show, which is still finding its footing. Additionally, it is unclear whether Abbott is ready to take on a full load of showrunner responsibility right away. Malibu Country is a priority for ABC after a strong premiere last Friday.
Abbott served as showrunner for most of Last Man Standing‘s first season, stepping in for creator Jack Burditt. Abbott passed on Last Man Standing showrunner duties to Tim Doyle in May to focus on Malibu Country. Doyle continues as showrunner; Abbott will serve as executive producer alongside him.
Dibai only recently started writing solo after being teamed with her husband and writing partner Jeffrey Hodes for the past two decades, until his sudden death a year ago. Her series credits include Retired At 35 and According To Jim. Dibai, repped by WME and Jamie Mandelbaum, is currently developing a comedy for ABC based on her personal experience.