10:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Lauren Corrao Replaces Karey Burke as Freeform Head of Originals
Five months after Karey Burke was promoted from No. 2 at Freeform to No. 1 at ABC, the younger-skewing cable network has found her replacement.
Tornante TV and Comedy Central grad Lauren Corrao has been tapped to take over as executive vp originals at Freeform. That's the same position Burke held when she was promoted last November to take over for Channing Dungey as ABC Entertainment president.
In her new role, Corrao — who will report to Freeform president Tom Ascheim — will be charged with accelerating and amplifying content at Freeform while overseeing scripted and unscripted development and current originals as well as casting and talent development.
"Lauren's wealth of experience coupled with her incredible creative instinct as well as close working relationships with many talented writers and producers will be invaluable to Freeform," Ascheim said Thursday in a statement. "In collaboration with the programming team, she will undoubtedly grow our slate of successful series and continue to build an environment for the talent community to tell powerful stories that become a lasting part of the cultural zeitgeist."
Corrao has big shoes to fill at Freeform. Burke helped turn Disney's younger-skewing cable network around with the launch of brand-defining series like critical favorites The Bold Type, Good Trouble and the Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish as the cable network refined its focus on "becomers" — aka individuals experiencing a series of firsts, like love and jobs. Freeform's upcoming roster includes an immigration-themed reboot of Party of Five — which Burke aggressively pursued for the network — as well as Motherland: Fort Salem, Everything's Gonna Be Okay and the Kenya Barris-produced multicamera comedy Unrelated, among others.
"I am honored to be joining Freeform and continuing to elevate the tremendous work that Tom, Karey and the team have done to make it a destination that truly connects with its audience," said Corrao. "I'm incredibly inspired by the energy, inclusivity and diverse voices that populate this network and cannot wait to get started."
Corrao, who will officially start her new role next week, most recently was co-president of Tornante TV, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner's indie studio. There, she developed series that included AMC's upcoming Zachary Quinto drama NOS4A2. Before that, Corrao spent eight years at Viacom's Comedy Central, rising to the role of president of originals. There, she oversaw such series as The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. She also developed and oversaw Chappelle's Show, Reno 911, The Sarah Silverman Program, Tosh 2.0, Workaholics and more. Her career also includes stints overseeing alternative and late night programming at Fox and a production deal at ABC's Touchstone TV, in which she partnered with Peter Tolan.
Corrao, a mother of two with a B.A. in semiotics from Brown University, started her career at MTV, where she was part of the Viacom network's first non-music program development department and oversaw The Real World, The Ben Stiller Show and The Jon Stewart Show.