ABC Signature veteran Tracy Underwood has been elevated to President of the Disney Television Studios division. Underwood, most recently EVP of creative affairs for ABC Signature, is taking over the top post vacated by Jonnie Davis in July.
In her new position, Underwood will add oversight of current series to her current role overseeing development of drama, comedy and limited series, which will not be backfilled. Sydnee Rimes, SVP of Series and head of ABC Signature’s current series team, will now report into Underwood; Susan Lewis, SVP of Drama Development, and Danny Feldheim, SVP of Comedy Development, will continue to report into her.
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Underwood’s promotion caps a lengthy search for Davis’ successor led by Eric Schrier, President of Disney Television Studios and Global Original TV Strategy for Disney Entertainment, to whom she will report. Outside candidates were considered, with Underwood emerging as the leading candidate by October.
While streamlining its content leadership, merging the President and EVP Creative Affairs roles, ABC Signature will remain a standalone creative unit alongside sibling 20th Television. The two studios share Business Affairs, Casting and Production services following multiple rounds of consolidating operations over the past couple of years.
ABC Signature has a slate of 16 current series and over six dozen projects in various stages of development across internal and external platforms.
Underwood joined then-ABC Studios in 2010 as VP drama development after stints in the feature world working for John Wells, Jason Blum and Vendome Picture. At the end of 2012, she was tasked with launching ABC Signature, a new studio division focused initially on cable and lower-cost broadcast scripted shows and subsequently on cable/streaming series. She served as SVP ABC Signature until 2020 when the division was folded into ABC Studios, with the combined entity taking on the ABC Signature moniker, and Underwood was named EVP of Creative Affairs.
“As a proven leader at ABC Signature, Tracy has been an instrumental force behind the studio’s development of award-winning and culture-piercing series for over a decade,” Schrier said. “In this new role leading the studio, Tracy will build on her excellent relationships with our creative and platform partners to grow the studio’s legacy of producing undeniable television.”
During her ABC Studios/Signature tenure, Underwood has shepherded such series as Emmy-nominated Bad Sisters for Apple TV+, Fleishman Is In Trouble for FX and Tiny Beautiful Things for Hulu, recent Humanitas and Gotham Award recipient A Small Light for Nat Geo as well as This Fool and Onyx Collective’s UnPrisoned and Reasonable Doubt, Disney+’s The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Big Shot, The Muppets Mayhem and National Treasure: The Edge of History, MGM+’s Godfather of Harlem, Hulu’s Dollface, High Fidelity and Little Fires Everywhere and Showtime’s SMILF.
Upcoming series include Death and Other Details starring Mandy Patinkin, Under The Bridge starring Riley Keough for Hulu, as well as High Potential starring Kaitlin Olson for ABC.
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