EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Howell, head of 20th Century Fox TV‘s animation department, is leaving the studio to pursue other opportunities. I hear her contract is up in May and is not being renewed. Howell has headed the department since 20th TV created it in 2008. The series developed on her watch include Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, the recently picked up Murder Police as well as Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory. 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman are expected to find a replacement.
Additionally, Howell ran the joint Fox/20th TV Fox Inkubation initiative focused on breaking new animation talent by evaluating potential toon series through fully-formed 2-minute shorts rather than by traditional script development. The program, also started in 2008, developed a number of projects though none got on the air. It was dissolved last year after Fox shifted its attention to the launch of a late-night animation block, bringing in former Adult Swim head Nick Weidenfeld to oversee it. Before joining 20th TV, Howell was EVP of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s production company Important Films and a former supervising producer on South Park. In other personnel changes at 20th TV’s animation department, director Evan Shames is segueing to a writing career.