EXCLUSIVE: After a short break, Samie Kim Falvey is returning to the executive ranks as President of Imagine Television. Falvey, who will oversee the development and production of new comedy and drama series, succeeds in the role Francie Calfo who was just promoted to Chairman of Imagine Television Group. The addition of a seasoned executive of the caliber of Falvey is part of the plans of Imagine Entertainment chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to grow the TV operation of their now-independent company.
Falvey, a well liked veteran TV executive, most recently served as Chief Content Officer of M4, the planned premium short-form mobile content service of Verizon and AwesomenessTV. Appointed in August 2016, she assembled an executive team and had started building a programming slate for the new platform when Verizon and AwesomenessTV in February decided not to go through with it. While she was approached for new jobs right away, Falvey opted not to rush back right away. She took a lot of meetings and evaluated a lot of different opportunities before deciding to go with Imagine TV for the next chapter in her career.
“Samie is an amazing and respected executive with great taste and deep relationships,” said Calfo, to whom Falvey will report.. “I’m thrilled to have her in this key leadership position as the company expands.”
Prior to joining AwesomenessTV, Falvey was longtime head of comedy at ABC, most recently as EVP, Comedy Development and International Scripted Development for ABC Entertainment. Falvey and her team developed and launched the Tuesday and Wednesday night comedy blocks, which include five-time Emmy-winning Best Comedy Series Modern Family, Peabody-winning Black-ish, and Fresh Off The Boat, The Goldbergs, The Middle, The Real O’Neals as well as Last Man Standing, which started on Tuesday before moving to Fridays. The last crop of pilots Falvey shepherded before leaving the network yielded two solid new series that have gone to a second season, Speechless and American Housewife. In addition, Falvey led the relaunch of the ABC app, including ABCd, a new vertical of original digital content.
Before joining ABC in 2006. Falvey spent eight years at Fox Broadcasting Co. and Fox TV Studios. There she worked on dramas and comedies, including Emmy Award-winners The Bernie Mac Show, Arrested Development, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and Ally McBeal. She also developed Kitchen Confidential with Bradley Cooper and Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad.
“We are thrilled to welcome Samie to Imagine,” said Grazer. “Samie brings a depth of experience and leadership, not to mention exceptional taste, that will be instrumental in continuing to push the boundaries in television.”
Added Howard, “Samie has a keen eye in television and fits in perfectly with our culture of creativity and world building. I am confident she will be instrumental in growing our television and short-form footprint and delivering ground-breaking content to our audiences.”
Imagine’s TV expansion comes on the heels of the company recently entering into a TV co-financing venture with Hong Kong based TVB Ventures, with TVB Ventures committed to investing $100 million to develop and produce Imagine Television projects. Imagine TV also recently inked a four-year co-financing, first-look agreement with CBS Corp. for scripted and unscripted television and long-form digital programming.
“As a long-time fan of Imagine series and films I jumped at the chance to work with Ron and Brian, Francie and the team,” said Falvey. “Imagine has an unparalleled track record of making excellent content that resonates with both critics and audiences. This is an incredibly exciting time for the company as they continue to grow and expand and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
In building a talent roster, Imagine TV just signed a premium script deal with Marc Cherry for his next TV series, and also inked a two-year first-look deal with Oscar-winning Beautiful Mind writer Akiva Goldsman. Earlier this year, Imagine received 16 Emmy nominations for its programs Empire, Genius and The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years on Hulu.