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Michael McDonald To Be Named Head Of Drama Development For ABC Studios

By | Wednesday August 31, 2011 @ 11:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After Paul Lee rearranged his top programming executives in June, ABC and ABC Studios have now made more tweaks to their teams. The biggest one — Michael McDonald is being promoted to SVP drama development for ABC Studios and will head the studio’s drama department. The post had been vacant since June when previous drama topper Patrick Moran was elevated to Head of Creative Development for the studio as part of the executive restructuring. McDonald, whose deal is still being finalized, most recently served as VP drama current series for ABC Studios. With his promotion, both ABC’s drama and comedy departments are heading into the new development season with new leaders. Amy Hartwick was named SVP comedy development for the studio in June.

ABC Studios’ drama department is getting additional reinforcement: Emily Cummins, formerly of Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road, is joining as VP drama development. Spike TV’s highest-ranking scripted executive, Dustin Davis, will be joining ABC as director in the network’s current department. (Spike’s other scripted exec, Laurence Sullivan, already left for Conan O’Brien’s Conaco production company as the cable network is putting scripted development on hold.) Also in ABC’s current department, Karin Dubiel is being promoted from coordinator to manager. Meanwhile, Zack Olin, executive director current programming for ABC, has moved to ABC Studio’s comedy development department as executive director. Read More »

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Spike Puts Scripted Development On Hold

Nellie Andreeva

The writing had been on the wall for a while, and Spike executives began quietly telling agents over the past couple of weeks that the network is getting out of the scripted business, at least for the time being. One of the network’s 2 scripted executives, Laurence Sullivan, has already departed to join Conan O’Brien’s production company Conaco. The last time Spike announced a scripted development slate was last October. Of the 7 projects on it, one, the Walt Becket-produced and Andy Tenant-directed Thunderballs, went to pilot but hasn’t been picked up to series. Spike also passed on its 2 pilots ordered last year, Back Nine and Playing With Guns. (Playing With Guns was later redeveloped by Comedy Central). Spike’s only remaining scripted executive, Dustin Davis, will continue to oversee existing development, including a script the network bought last month about an NYPD bomb squad, as well as Spike’s sole scripted series, Blue Mountain State. Spike’s recently picked up 4 new series, all in the reality genre, where the channel has had ratings success with such hits as Auction Hunters and Repo Games.

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