EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment has tapped Netflix executive Kristen Zolner as Head of Imagine Television. This marks the first major executive hire since Tony Hernandez and Lilly Burns, co-founders of Imagine-owned Jax Media, were named Presidents of Imagine Entertainment this month, overseeing film and television for Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s indie company, which has been the center of acquisition speculation.
Zolner, who will oversee all scripted television development and production, succeeds Samie Kim Falvey, who left in September to join Picturestart.
“We have worked with Kristen across many shows for years and have always been wildly impressed by her taste and creative instincts. We are confident in her ability to push boundaries and deliver ground-breaking television,” Hernandez and Burns said in a joint statement.
For more than seven years, Zolner served as Director of Original Series, at Netflix, where she oversaw such series as Emily in Paris — which is produced by Jax Media — Dead To Me, Big Mouth, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, Maniac and Master of None, as well as the upcoming The Pentaverate starring Mike Myers, Uncoupled and Untitled Mo Amer. Zolner initiated the optioning of Michelle Buteau’s bestselling book Survival of the Thickest, which was recently greenlighted to series by Netflix. In her first two years at the streamer, Zolner also helped program the company’s first 25 original standup specials.
Prior to joining Netflix, Zolner served as a development executive at Amazon Studios, where she shepherded Emmy-winning comedy-drama Transparent as well as Bosch, the studio’s longest-running original series. Previously, Zolner held positions at Scot Armstrong’s American Work and in the festivals group at HBO.
“Joining this incredibly creative team at Imagine is a dream come true,” Zolner said. “Brian and Ron are behind many of my favorite series and films, and their repeated innovation in the TV landscape is inspiring. Having worked with Tony and Lilly for years, I’m thrilled to be partnering with them more closely to continue thinking outside the box and supporting great storytellers and creators,” said Zolner.
Imagine Television’s slate of scripted series includes Genius: Aretha at NatGeo), Why Women Kill (Paramount+), Swagger (Apple TV+), Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu), and Ms. Pat (BET+).
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