Longtime ABC head of comedy Samie Falvey is leaving the network to become chief content officer at the premium content service planned by AwesomenessTV and Verizon. The new service, which will be a stand-alone brand and business wholly-owned by AwesomenessTV, stems from a deal in April in which Verizon bought a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV. It will feature premium short-form mobile content for a variety of audiences on par with the highest-end content seen on TV and featuring top talent in front and behind the camera.
There is no immediate replacement for Falvey at ABC, but the network is known for its deep executive benches and will likely promote within as it recently did on the drama side when Channing Dungey was upped to president. Jamila Hunter is considered a likely candidate, with Lynn Barrie also considered a possibility, maybe as a co-head.
The hire of a seasoned and respected comedy executive like Falvey instantly raises the profile of the new venture, where she will oversee all content and creative including programming, development and production.
“Samie has a tremendous track record of successful collaborations with some of the most accomplished creators in the business and a great knack for developing content that resonates,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Her eye for great storytelling coupled with terrific talent relationships will be invaluable in creating next-generation premium programming for audiences to devour in the ways they are actually watching today — in bite-sized chunks across every device there is.”
Falvey was most recently EVP Comedy Development and International Scripted Development at ABC, overseeing the development and production of all comedy pilots, as well as international talent and format development. She is leaving a formidable roster of comedy series that she and her team developed and launched at the network. That includes the Peabody-winning and 2016 Emmy-nominated Black-ish, and the critically praised Fresh Off The Boat as well as five-time Emmy-winning Best Comedy Series Modern Family, The Goldbergs, and The Middle.
Additionally, Falvey led the re-launch of the Watch ABC app and oversaw development and production of all scripted short-form content for the platform.
Prior to ABC, Falvey was VP Comedy Development at Fox, and began her career at Fox in 1999 as Manager of Current Programming.