The newly minted Disney Branded Television division has named ABC vet Ayo Davis as its first EVP of creative development and strategy, with a remit to oversee a programming push across platforms.
Davis will report to Gary Marsh, who was just named president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television last week. In her new role, Davis will manage all live-action programming created by Disney Branded Television for Disney+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.
This portfolio includes scripted and unscripted series, movies and specials, and she’ll also oversee a number of Disney’s teams, including original development, current programming, original movies, unscripted content, casting and talent relations, integrated content strategy and the educational resource group.
Prior to joining the Disney Branded Television TV team, Davis worked for 18 years at Disney-owned net ABC, most recently as EVP of talent and casting for ABC Entertainment and Disney+. In this role, she helped recruit casts on series including The Good Doctor and How to Get Away with Murder. She also launched the ABC Discovers program that finds and develops up-and-coming talent, and helped spark careers for Lupita Nyong’o and Pedro Pascal, according to Disney.
The House of Mouse is also stocking the content shelf by moving The Mysterious Benedict Society series from Hulu to Disney+ for a 2021 launch. This action-adventure series tracks a group of orphans who are placed undercover in a boarding school to stop an evil plot. The series is written and created by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay, with Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer as showrunners. It’s produced by Sonar Entertainment and Disney TV Studios’ 20th Television, and exec produced by Jamie Tarses, Karen Sherwood, Manfredi and Hay.
Based on a YA book series of the same name by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society was shifted to Disney+ to play into the SVOD’s family-friendly focus, according to Dana Walden, Walt Disney Television’s chairman of entertainment, in a release from Disney.
In linear TV news, Disney Channel is remaking original movie Under Wraps. The 1997 Halloween comedy was the first-ever Disney Channel original movie, and its remake is about three 12-year-old friends who accidentally revive a mummy. Under Wraps is slated to premiere in 2021. Produced by MarVista Entertainment, the movie will be directed by Alex Zamm (Beverley Hills Chihuahua 2), with MarVista’s Todd Murata and Fernando Szew executive producing. Zamm and William Robertson (Inspector Gadget 2) are attached to write.