Disney Television Studios Restructures Leadership Team
Just ahead of the launch of Disney+, Disney Television Studios today announced the restructuring of its leadership team. At ABC Studios, Jonnie Davis has been named president. At 20th Century Fox Television, Carolyn Cassidy has been promoted to president, Creative Affairs, to run that studio alongside Howard Kurtzman, who continues as president of Business Operations. Josh Sussman will be promoted to executive vice president, Business Affairs, ABC Studios, where he will work for Davis. The new appointments were announced today by Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, to whom Davis, Cassidy and Kurtzman will report. Bert Salke continues as president, Fox 21 Television Studios, also reporting to Hunegs.
“This exceptional group is uniquely qualified to continue building our position as the strongest studios in the industry and the very best home for talent,” explained Hunegs.
“Jonnie is a great leader with infectious energy and optimism, as well as an incredible partner to our creators. The award-winning quality, diversity and sheer number of series he developed and oversaw at 20th, along with the relationships he has with writers, producers, directors and actors, are second to none. Together with Josh, a gifted business affairs strategist, Jonnie is poised to take ABC Studios to even greater levels of success.”
Continued Hunegs, “Carolyn is an absolute star creative executive with extraordinary leadership skills, a deep understanding of the studio and great relationships with our creators and entire company. We are thrilled that Howard will continue alongside her, as together they make a formidable team. With Fox 21 Television Studios remaining under Bert Salke and Vibiana Molina overseeing business affairs, these three dynamic studios have the exceptional leadership to ensure Disney Television Studios remains a world-class studio and the best home for creators and great storytelling.”
As part of the restructuring, Patrick Moran and Howard Davine will step down from their leadership roles at ABC Studios. Said Hunegs, “I have enormous respect for Patrick and Howard and for all they have achieved in their careers at ABC Studios. Patrick has developed and overseen many landmark series and has an excellent slate of new shows. I have known Howard for many years, and he is one of the most accomplished and effective business affairs executives in our industry, having made a number of groundbreaking deals and run an excellent business. Together they have brought to ABC Studios a wonderful group of writers, producers and executives and made a lasting contribution to The Walt Disney Company.”
Jonnie Davis joined 20th Century Fox Television in January 2008 as senior vice president, Comedy Development, and soon rose to executive vice president of Comedy. Later, he held the role of executive vice president, Comedy and Animation Development, before being named president of Creative Affairs, alongside Business Operations President Howard Kurtzman. He helped develop “This Is Us,” broadcast’s most-watched drama and the studio’s blockbuster comedy hit “Modern Family” (which has won both the Emmy® and Golden Globe® for Best Comedy Series), as well as strong performers “New Girl,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Last Man on Earth” and “Last Man Standing.” He also oversaw the studio’s recent expansion into animation development which includes the upcoming “Bless the Harts,” “Duncanville,” “Solar Opposites“ and “Central Park.”
Prior to TCFTV, Davis served as vice president, Comedy Development at FBC, and began in the network’s Alternative Programming area, working on such reality hits as “The Simple Life,” “Joe Millionaire” and “American Idol.”
Carolyn Cassidy most recently served as executive vice president, Current Series for 20th Century Fox Television, and ran the current series department since July 2015. She oversaw a team of executives responsible for managing the studio’s robust slate of live-action television series for platforms such as FBC, ABC, NBC, FX, Hulu, Disney+ and Netflix. In this role, she has grown franchise hits such as “This Is Us,” “Empire,” “9-1-1” and “Modern Family.” She has worked with many of the studio’s highest-profile creators including Lee Daniels, Liz Meriwether, Dan Fogelman, Steve Levitan and Seth MacFarlane, as well as nurtured the next generation of hit-makers working on TCFTV shows.
Cassidy first joined 20th Century Fox TV in August 2009 as vice president, Comedy Series. She developed “New Girl,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Last Man Standing.” Cassidy started her career as a current executive at NBC where she worked on series such as “Will & Grace,” “The Office,” “Las Vegas” and “Ed.” She also served as a comedy development executive at ABC Studios. She is a graduate of Harvard University.
Josh Sussman has served as senior vice president, Business Affairs at 20th Century Fox Television since 2016. Prior to joining the studio, he was executive vice president, Business Affairs, and general counsel at Electus, where he oversaw business and legal affairs for Electus’ scripted and unscripted business, Electus International, Electus Content Marketing and Electus Digital. Before joining Electus, Sussman was vice president, GC of Programming at IAC/InterActiveCorp, overseeing business and legal affairs for IAC’s programming businesses – including Notional, a television production company, CollegeHumor Media and The Daily Beast, among others – and helping IAC senior management oversee operations of those businesses. He began his career as an associate at the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. Sussman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and received a Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law.