'Last Week Tonight' and 'Catastrophe' Producer Avalon Appoints Lionsgate's Laura Kennedy as CEO

Laura Kennedy - Publicity - P 2017
Courtesy of Lionsgate

Kennedy returns to the comedy powerhouse, where she first started her career.

The Avalon Group, the comedy powerhouse, talent agency and producer of shows including HBO's Last Week Tonight With Jon Oliver and Amazon's Catastrophe, has appointed Laura Kennedy as its CEO. 

Kennedy, who began her career with Avalon after graduating from Harvard, joins from Lionsgate's TV group, where she was COO, heading operations, strategy and planning and directed all TV-related mergers and acquisitions. During her 12-year tenure at Lionsgate, Kennedy helped scale the television operations to over $800M in annual turnover and led many transactions, including the company’s acquisitions of Debmar-Mercury, Pilgrim and 3 Arts. 

As part of the move, Avalon founders Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner will become co-executive chairmen of the company. Kennedy will be based in the company's L.A. office. 

“Laura’s record at Lionsgate speaks for itself. She is an exceptionally talented executive and we are delighted she has chosen to return to Avalon," said Thoday. "It’s very rare to have the opportunity to bring someone in who understands the company’s DNA and we are all looking forward to the future in this exciting environment for creative talent."

Added Kennedy. "I am thrilled to be joining the team at Avalon. They have built a phenomenal business, with an impressive talent roster and a high-quality production slate. I am honored to be granted the opportunity to work with them, and am excited to lead the next phase of the company’s growth.”

Upcoming Avalon-produced shows include the Martin Freeman comedy Breeders for FX/Sky, and Starstruck, a sitcom from the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo for HBO Max and the BBC.