EXCLUSIVE: Colin Davis, Head of Scripted Originals for the Roku Channel, is leaving Roku’s free ad-supported streaming service to join Sony as EVP Comedy Development at Sony Pictures Television Studios. Davis, who starts May 1, will oversee development of comedies for all platforms, reporting to Jason Clodfelter, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios.
Davis succeeds Glenn Adilman, who exited as EVP and head of comedy development in the studio’s November executive restructuring under new Sony Pictures TV Studios president Katherine Pope. Based on the Culver City lot, Davis will lead a team that includes Jennifer Gerstenblatt, Frank Ochoa and Jackie Wertheimer who serve as SVP Comedy Development, VP Animation, and Manager of Comedy Development, respectively.
“We are thrilled to have Colin join our Sony Pictures Television Studios family,” said Clodfelter. “His passion and understanding of television are infectious, and he embodies an entrepreneurial spirit that is essential in today’s landscape. His vast relationships are undeniable, and we are fortunate to have Colin at the helm of our Comedy Development team.”
Davis’ hire follows a slew of recent appointments and promotions outlined by Pope in a staff memo this afternoon as she continues to build out her executive team. They includes producer Dara Weintraub (Mad Men, Better Things), who has joined the studio as SVP Production. Ali Roland, who worked for Pope at Spectrum Originals, has come on board as VP Drama Development on Lauren Stein’s team. Colleen Pepin and Jessica Casey have been promoted to Directors of Drama Development.
Additionally, Vanessa Harvey has recently joined SPT as VP BA Admin Operations, also from Spectrum Originals; Brittany (Britt) Storms has joined SPT Marketing, leading the new Sales Marketing division; and Belle Isidron has come on board as Director of Casting Administration from NBCUniversal.
Morgana Cabrera-Rosenberg has been promoted to SVP Current Programming; Kevin Kelly to SVP Brand Marketing & Creative; Steve Russo to SVP Business Affairs; Lily Parrish and Jimmy Haas to Director, Current Programming; and Pope’s assistant, Becca Flynn, to Manager, Creative Affairs.
As Head of Scripted Originals for the Roku Channel, Davis spearheaded the streamer’s move into original programming and shepherded the production and rollout of such series as the reboot of Reno 911! and Die Harter starring Kevin Hart as well as the award-winning breakout film Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which he greenlighted.
Before Roku, Davis led scripted programming for the short-form streaming service Quibi, and spent four years in comedy development at Turner where he most notably championed Search Party. Davis started his television career at Fox Broadcasting Co.
“SPT has long been a home for high-quality, groundbreaking comedies,” Davis said. “I am so proud to join Katherine, Jason, and their teams, to honor the great legacy of the past, embrace the opportunities in the present, and help build a bright future for comedy television.”
Sony’s current TV comedy slate includes The Afterparty for Apple TV+ and Cobra Kai for Netflix, as well as the upcoming Platonic for Apple TV+, Sausage Party: Foodtopia for Amazon, Twisted Metal for Peacock, The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh and Clean Slate for Freevee, and Hoagie Bros. at Fox.
Sony TV retreated from broadcast comedy under the previous regime, with the departing The Goldbergs as its last remaining broadcast half-hour. While admitting that “comedy tends to be more challenging on a budget and deal basis and not sell as well foreign,” Pope stressed in an interview with Deadline last month that the studio remains committed to the genre.
“We have a really good comedy streaming business that we’re continuing to build. We have a good adult animation business that we’re continuing to build. So, we’re not pulling away from comedy,” she said. “We’re just trying to be really deliberate and thoughtful about what we’re doing, what we’re spending time on and why.”