EXCLUSIVE: Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey continues to stray from the conventional path in his hiring choices for the film studio’s recently re-launched TV division. After naming Amy Powell — Paramount’s head of Digital Entertainment and Insurge Pictures who has no TV experience — as President of Paramount Television in July, I hear the division is bringing in Jennifer Howell as head of comedy. While Howell comes from a TV comedy background, it is all in animation. She most recently headed 20th Century Fox TV‘s animation department since its creation in 2008 until this past May, developing such series as Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, Murder Police, Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory. Before that, Howell was EVP at Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s production company Important Films and worked as a supervising producer on South Park where she also has voiced the character of Bebe Stevens. The plan for the next five years is to build Paramount TV into a creative studio financing and developing television for all platforms, from digital episodic content to primetime series, by mining existing Paramount properties as well as new ideas from established and emerging talent, broadly seeking partners and distribution. Paramount TV was one of the leading brands for TV production until 2005 when the studio merged with CBS Prods to form CBS TV Studios, which remained with CBS in the Viacom split.
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