Imagine a new TV plan

Unit's laffer chief draws drama duties

Imagine Television is consolidating its management structure, promoting comedy chief Katie O’Connell to exec VP and adding drama development and current programming to her portfolio.

Move comes in the wake of a new multiyear deal under which Imagine will remain based at 20th Century Fox TV. O’Connell will report to Imagine TV prexy David Nevins, who also recently reupped his deal with Imagine Entertainment partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard (Daily Variety, June 29).

Imagine previously had an exec in charge of comedy and another handling drama/current. But with four shows scheduled to air next season, Nevins decided to give O’Connell — who had been senior VP of comedy — day-to-day responsibility for all three areas.

“Heading into the new deal, this felt like the right way to organize the company,” Nevins said, noting the promotion will allow O’Connell “to expand her talents into the one-hour arena.”

“I like the idea of having her involved in everything,” he said.

As part of the restructuring, Erin Nowocinski has been upped to director of current programming, reporting to O’Connell.

Sonja Piper Dosti recently ankled as head of drama/current. Most recently, she developed “The Inside,” a Fox drama scheduled to bow in January.

Nevins said working with O’Connell, who was at Imagine before Nevins, has proved to be “an effective partnership … from the day I walked in here two years ago.”

“Her skills really complement my skills,” he said, noting that O’Connell “had a big hand in developing” Imagine’s “Arrested Development” and “Quintuplets.”

Indeed, “Arrested” creator Mitch Hurwitz — whose skein gave Imagine seven of the shingle’s 15 Emmy nominations this year — said he “really wanted to make Katie a producer on the show for this upcoming season.

“She’s been with the project since its development, and I’ve always found her incredibly helpful in organizing my thoughts and clarifying story structure,” he said. “And she’s got a great sense of humor, which is pretty essential in developing comedy.”

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