9:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Jamila Hunter Promoted at Freeform as Quibi Exec Tapped to Run Unscripted
New Freeform president Tara Duncan has solidified her executive team.
Former head of current Jamila Hunter has been promoted to Duncan's No. 2 and serve as exec vp originals. Additionally, Quibi's former head of documentaries Jihan Robinson has joined the Disney-owned cable network as vp alternative programming.
Hunter, the former ABC comedy chief who re-joined Disney as Freeform's head of current programming in October 2019, will report directly to Duncan. She will oversee all scripted and unscripted development — as well as current originals. Robinson, who in turn will report to Hunter, will lead nonfiction and alternative content for the basic cable network. Duncan replaced Tom Ascheim as Freeform president in May following an extensive search.
"Jamila is a beloved and experienced executive with impeccable taste and relationships. It’s a coup for us to have her at Freeform, where she regularly demonstrates strong leadership and a genuine enthusiasm for our brand,” said Duncan. “As we venture into non-fiction, it was crucial to find an executive with a finger on the pulse of what’s relevant. Jihan is a hip and seasoned executive who brings pedigree and a fresh perspective to the network. I am excited to have these two powerhouses leading the team."
The executive positioning comes after Lauren Corrao departed Freeform in October following a less than two-year run as head of originals. Ascheim installed Corrao to fill the void created when head of originals Karey Burke was plucked from the cabler to replace Channing Dungey as ABC Entertainment president. (Burke last week moved from her ABC perch to president of studio 20th Television as Craig Erwich became the broadcast network's third president in the past two years.)
Jamila is a beloved and experienced executive with impeccable taste and relationships. It’s a coup for us to have her at Freeform, where she regularly demonstrates strong leadership and a genuine enthusiasm for our brand,” said Duncan. “As we venture into nonfiction, it was crucial to find an executive with a finger on the pulse of what’s relevant. Jihan is a hip and seasoned executive who brings pedigree and a fresh perspective to the network. I am excited to have these two powerhouses leading the team."
Hunter departed in 2018 as head of comedy development at ABC to serve as president of television at Black-ish creator Kenya Barris' Netflix-based production company Khalabo Ink Society. After she was in talks for a senior position at NBCUniversal-backed streamer Peacock (sources say she would have run comedy under now-former head of originals Bill McGoldrick), Hunter took an interim post working at CAA-backed Wiip. While there, she briefly reunited with former ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee. Hunter first joined ABC as vp comedy in 2011 and oversaw Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, Last Man Standing and others. Before that, she was among the creative team that helped launch OWN and also had stints at NBC, 20th Century Fox TV and Bravo.
Working with the team and creators at Freeform has truly been the highlight of this challenging year for me,” stated Hunter. “I am beyond excited to continue collaborating with this group as we strive to tell authentic stories that reflect the lives of our unique audience.”
Robinson, meanwhile, oversaw documentaries for the now-defunct shortform streamer Quibi. Before that, she was vp nonfiction at Topic Studios, where she worked on Pahokee, Black 14, Wrinkles the Clown and Love Fraud, among others. Before that, she managed documentary programming at Netflix, where she worked as a producer. She previously held roles with HBO Documentary Films and Pivot. As an indie producer, Robinson produced Traveling While Black and The Seventh Fire.
"Freeform has a distinct way of telling bold and inclusive stories," Robinson said. "I’ve built my career around championing new voices, and I look forward to building out a non-fiction slate that will do just that. And getting to do it alongside Tara and Jamila, that is just icing on the cake.”
Duncan reports directly to Disney's Dana Walden.