After three consecutive successful development seasons, 20th Century Fox TV’s head of comedy Jonathan Davis is getting a title bump. Under a new multiyear deal Davis has signed with the studio, he is being promoted to EVP Comedy Development. Davis, who has run 20th TV’s comedy department since joining the studio in January 2008 as SVP comedy, oversaw the development of 20th TV’s commercial and critical hit, ABC’s 2009 comedy Modern Family; of one of last season’s most promising new comedies, Fox’s Raising Hope; as well as three of the most talked about new half-hour series this coming season, Fox’s New Girl and ABC’s Apartment 23 and Last Man Standing, which marks Tim Allen’s return to TV and ABC. Despite the timing of his promotion, which comes on the heels of 20th TV’s EVP Jennifer Salke’s departure to become President of Entertainment at NBC, Davis will not assume Salke’s responsibilities of overseeing both comedy and drama development. Davis will continue to head the studio’s comedy department, with SVP Michael Thorn running drama. Both will continue to report to 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “Jonathan has a spectacular eye for the next big idea or undiscovered writer, and he is incredibly strategic in his approach to development. And when he locks in on an idea or a writer or a performer, there is no more passionate advocate,” said Newman. Added Walden: “He brings to the development process a level of enthusiasm and passion that is contagious and the creators he works with know he will fight to protect their vision. Jonathan has grown tremendously as a department head and is unquestionably ready to be promoted into our senior management team.” Before joining 20th TV, Davis was VP Comedy Development at Fox, serving as No. 2 to SVP and head of comedy Susan Levison and helping develop such series as Back To You, Unhitched and ‘Til Death. He moved to comedy from Fox’s Alternative and Late-Night department, where he was a manager and worked on the development of such series as the unscripted The Simple Life, Joe Millionaire and American Idol as well as late-night entry Talk Show With Spike Feresten.
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