Berlanti Productions’ Erika Kennair to Head Malala Yousafzai’s Extracurricular Production Company (EXCLUSIVE)

Erika Kennair Malala Yousafzai
Courtesy Berlanti Productions/AP

Berlanti Productions senior vice president of development Erika Kennair is exiting the company to serves as president of production for Malala Yousafzai’s production company, Extracurricular, Variety has learned exclusively.

It was announced back in March that Yousafazi had signed a programming deal with Apple, under which she formed Extracurricular.

“At Extracurricular, we want to help the next generation of women, artists and writers reflect the world as they see it,” said Yousafazi. “Erika brings an incredibly accomplished record as a producer and executive – and she’s also created innovative programs for emerging talent and mentored young creators. She’s the perfect fit for our vision. I’m thrilled that Erika will guide our work and grateful to my team at UTA and our partners at Apple TV+.”

Kennair’s exit comes at the same time as fellow Berlanti Productions senior vice president Karyn Smith-Forge, who is leaving to lead development for Don Cheadle’s This Radicle Act production banner.

“Erika Kennair joined us a little over two years ago and has been an absolute rockstar,” said Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter in a joint statement. “From the Golden Globe nominated ‘The Flight Attendant’ to ‘Helter Skelter’ and this season of ‘You’ she has made a tremendous impact across our slate and with all our partners. This is her dream opportunity and speaks to her deepest held political passions. She will always be a part of the Berlanti Productions family and we cannot wait to cheer her on as she builds a company of her own with the inspirational Malala.”

Kennair joined Berlanti Productions in 2019. Before that, she was the vice president of comedy development at ABC. During her time at the broadcaster, she worked on shows like “The Conners” and “American Housewife.” She was also a vice president of original programming and development at Syfy earlier in her career as well as manager of entertainment diversity programs at NBC Entertainment.

“Malala is an inspiration to so many people around the world – and I’m excited to work with her to reach new audiences and champion new voices for Extracurricular,” said Kennair.

Yousafazi’s deal will see her develop original programming for the streamer, covering dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation, and children’s series.

At age 16, Yousafazi published her best-selling memoir, “I Am Malala.” She’s since written two more books, starred in a documentary about her early life, and created Assembly, a digital publication for girls and young women available on Apple News. Since launching in 2018, Assembly has published stories from young women in more than 100 countries and in over 20 languages. She also founded Malala Fund to champion every girl’s right to 12 years of safe, free, quality education. In 2018, Apple became Malala Fund’s first Laureate partner, supporting the organization’s work with local advocates and teachers in eight countries where girls face significant education challenges. Apple also assists with technology, curriculum, and research into policy changes to support girls’ education. The partnership has since expanded, and in Brazil, Apple’s 10 Developer Academies have partnered with Malala Fund to advance girls’ education opportunities there and around the world.