AwesomenessTV, Verizon Tap ABC Comedy Veteran Samie Falvey for New Mobile Video Service
She will oversee programming, development and production of video for the yet-to-launch streaming service.
AwesomenessTV and Verizon are calling on an experienced TV executive to program their forthcoming mobile video service.
The companies have hired ABC development veteran Samie Falvey as chief content officer for their yet-to-be-named streaming service. In her new role, Falvey will oversee all content and creative — including programming, development and production — for the new brand, which will be focused on producing premium shows for mobile audiences. She also will work closely with Hollywood studios, production companies and creative talent to develop a slate of projects for the service.
The hire comes nearly four months after Verizon acquired a 24.5 percent stake in AwesomenessTV and announced plans to work with the digital media firm, which is majority owned by DreamWorks Animation, to create a mobile video service that features short-form series targeted to the 18-34 demographic. The companies have not yet disclosed when the service will launch or what it will be called, but ATV CEO Brian Robbins told The Hollywood Reporter in April that the new brand would feature some paid content, would launch as a part of Verizon's go90 app and would be available exclusively on Verizon platforms in the U.S.
"Samie has a tremendous track record of successful collaborations with some of the most accomplished creators in the business and a great knack for developing content that resonates," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said Monday in a statement. "Her eye for great storytelling coupled with terrific talent relationships will be invaluable in creating next-generation premium programming for audiences to devour in the ways they are actually watching today — in bite-sized chunks across every device there is."
At ABC, Falvey was responsible for ushering in a new era of family comedy, with a half-hour brand that has successfully embraced a range of diverse voices. The series she championed in her role as executive vp comedy development include Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Fresh Off the Boat, Black-ish and newcomer Speechless. Additionally, Falvey, a well-liked exec who is married to Amblin TV co-head Justin Falvey, was responsible for international talent and format development and led the relaunch of the Watch ABC app as well as scripted short-form content for the platform.
The news comes some six months after Falvey's drama counterpart, Channing Dungey, was elevated to entertainment president at the broadcast network. That move followed a change at the top of Disney's corporate ladder, with Ben Sherwood replacing Anne Sweeney a year or so prior. Despite a suite of critically praised series, Falvey’s departure coincides with a period not only of change but also of commercial challenges at the network, which has struggled to regain a foothold in the linear ratings race. Falvey began her career at Fox, where she was elevated to vp comedy development before moving over to ABC.
"I've long admired Jeffrey, Brian and Brett's commitment to innovation, and I could not be more excited to work with them in building their next business," said Falvey. "I am eager to bring audiences a new and contemporary form of content and to provide the best creative talent with a wholly original outlet."