ABC’s SVP and head of comedy Jamila Hunter is leaving the network after seven years. She is joining Kenya Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society, to run the company under its rich Netflix overall deal aimed at developing new comedy series. In the move, which had been in the works for months, she is reuniting with Barris after working closely with him on his ABC projects, including Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series black-ish and a couple of pilots, including grown-ish.
Hunter, who has been named President of TV for Khalabo Ink Society, took the reins of ABC’s comedy department two years ago. Her exits comes amidst uncertainly among Disney-ABC and Fox ranks heading into completion of Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets. There is no immediate replacement. Another senior Disney-ABC executive, ABC Studios head of drama Nne Ebong, recently departed to move to the production side,
After a short, rocky stint as head of programming for then-fledgeling OWN, Hunter joined ABC as VP Comedy in 2011. Since then, she had been a key member of the team that developed and launched a string of successful new half-hour series and worked on such projects as Barris’ black-ish, as well as Fresh Off the Boat. She also supervised Tim Allen’s return to network television in Last Man Standing.
“Jamila has always understood my vision as a storyteller — and that was evident when she bought black-ish in the room 5 years ago,” Barris said. “She’s continued to be a champion of the work every day since that meeting, and I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to reunite with her in this chapter of Khalabo Ink Society. I consider her not only a personal friend, but a professional ally and someone I truly believe has one of the greatest taste meters in town.”
Since October 2015, Hunter added multi-platform comedy development to her responsibilities, shepherding original short-form content for the recently revamped ABC app.
Hunter, whose ABC exit was first reported by Variety, previously was SVP of Alternative and Digital Programming at NBC Entertainment, VP of Comedy Development for 20th Century Fox Television from 2005 and VP of Development and Production at Bravo. She started her entertainment career in the Movies and Miniseries department of NBC in 1997.