HBO Inks First-Look Deal With SVP Talent Development Kelly Edwards (Exclusive)

KELLY EDWARDS -Publicity-H 2020
Courtesy of HBO

HBO has inked a new creative pact with one of its executives.

The premium cable network has signed Kelly Edwards, its senior vp talent development, to a first-look deal in what's said to be the high-six-figure range. Under the pact, Edwards will move on from her exec responsibilities and focus solely on writing and producing content for HBO, HBOMax and Turner.

Edwards has spent the last seven years at HBO running its emerging artists programs, where she has launched the careers of emerging writers and directors through the HBOAccess program. The pilots she produced through the Access fellowships have screened at major film festivals and garnered multiple awards.

But recently, the exec decided to return to writing, completing her MFA at Emerson College this year and participating in the Sundance Episodic Lab last year.

Said HBO's executive vp programming Amy Gravitt: "I’ve loved working with Kelly as an executive, but I’m even more excited to be working with her as a writer."

Added Edwards: "After college, one of my first jobs was as a writer’s assistant, but the doors to women of color weren’t as open as they are now, and I found the executive side of the business fascinating."

She credits the 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab as the turning point in her career. “Being acknowledged by Sundance was incredibly validating,” she says. “It changed my understanding of who I was and who I can be.”

Edwards was previously vp talent development for NBCUniversal, where she oversaw the company's diversity initiatives across its film and television divisions. Prior to that, she was an exec at UPN, where she developed such shows as Girlfriends and The Parkers.

Edwards is repped by 3Arts Entertainment and Lisa Davis at Frankfurt Kurnit.