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In a move that consolidates its comedy department, 20th Century Fox TV’s Jonathan Davis has been upped to executive vp comedy development and animation.
As part of the restructuring, senior vp animation Jennifer Howell will report to Davis. Davis, for his part, will continue to report directly to 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
“Jonnie is a tremendously skilled executive, and we wanted to utilize his talents to enhance our animation efforts in addition to our comedy development,” the pair said in a joint statement. “As we look to the years ahead, nothing is more important to this studio than finding that next big animated hit.”
To be sure, 20th TV and its sister network Fox have struggled in recent years to produce a new animated hit, relying instead on such long-running — and still hugely lucrative — juggernauts as The Simpsons and Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy. The latter’s latest effort, The Flintstones, has stalled, while offerings from Napoleon Dynamite to Allen Gregory failed to perform for the network.
Davis joined the studio in early 2008 as senior vp comedy development, a role that has had him intricately involved in the development of Modern Family, New Girl, Raising Hope, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 and Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing. Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, he’ll have five new comedies on the air, including Fox’s Ben & Kate and The Goodwin Games, NBC’sThe New Normal and 1600 Penn and ABC’s How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).
Prior to 20th TV, Davis served as vp comedy development at Fox, and before that, he was the network’s manager of alternative programming and late-night development. During that tenure, he worked on the development of series including Back to You, ‘Til Death, The Simple Life, Joe Millionaire and American Idol.
Howell has overseen the animation department at 20th TV since 2008. In addition to overseeing such existing properties as Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad and Futurama, she has developed Bob’s Burgers and The Cleveland Show. She had come by way of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Important Films, where she served as both executive vp and a supervising producer of Comedy Central’s South Park.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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