TV industry veteran Julia Franz is poised to become SVP and head of comedy for Fox Entertainment, while Daniel Weidenfeld is expected to be named SVP and head of animation at the broadcast network, I have learned. Franz will oversee all comedy production and development for the network; Weidenfeld will shepherd all animated production and development for ox Entertainment and third party platforms. Both will report to Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn.
Fox has been without senior comedy executives since April, when the head of comedy, EVP Comedy Programming & Development Suzanna Makkos, left to join HBO Max as EVP Original Comedy and Animation, and Jonathan Gabay, SVP comedy development and programming, left to join Berlanti Productions as SVP Development. I hear out in the current executive transition is Roberto Alcantara, VP Comedy Programming & Development.
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Fox Entertainment brass cast a wide net in its search for a new head of comedy. Meanwhile, the independent network’s current ramp-up in animation led to the decision to appoint Fox’s first dedicated senior executive focused entirely on animated series. Weidenfeld comes from one of the hotbeds for adult animation, Adult Swim.
UPDATE: Fox has confirmed Franz and Weidenman’s appointments.
“Both Julia and Daniel are fantastic executives with tremendous relationships throughout the creative community,” said Thorn. “As Fox Entertainment doubles down on our commitment both to live-action and animated comedy, these two executives will play key roles in these initiatives.”
Franz is coming to Fox from Charter, where she was Head of Development and Production for Spectrum Originals, overseeing the development and production of original series including the upcoming revival of the NBC comedy series Mad About You.
Franz, a well respected executive, previously worked as a creative consultant for Platform One Media and STX Entertainment, where she also served as an executive producer on State of Affairs. Franz spent 15 years at The Walt Disney Company, where she served in a number of roles including five years as EVP, overseeing both comedy and drama development and current programming for ABC Studios and predecessor Touchstone Television. While at Disney, some of the series she oversaw or helped develop included Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Scrubs, Desperate Housewives and Criminal Minds.
She also spent two years under an overall producing deal at Sony Pictures Television as a partner at Jamie Tarses’ FanFare.
For the past decade, Weidenfeld has served as a writer-producer on a number of series including Adult Swim’s Lazor Wulf, China, IL and The Eric Andre Show; and Netflix’s Trigger Warning With Killer Mike. He previously did a stint as VP Content Development at Generate.