EXCLUSIVE: Veteran TV executive and producer Michael McDonald (American Crime) is finalizing a deal to join Amazon Studios’ executive ranks as Head of the Comedy and Drama Development team in the US SVOD TV Development and Series – Wholly Owned division led by Nick Pepper, I hear. He will oversee development of all wholly owned comedy and drama series. Amazon Studios declined comment.
McDonald is segueing to the executive role after first signing a producing deal with Amazon Studios. He will fill the void left by the departure of Ryan Andolina soon after he was named to the Head of Comedy and Drama Development role in the Amazon Studios restructuring last November.
Before coming to Amazon Studios, McDonald consulted for HBO Max. Prior to that he was Head of Scripted Television at John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co.
McDonald spent nine years at ABC Studios (now ABC Signature), the last two as Head of the Drama Department, shepherding the development series like Nashville. He previously served as VP current series for the studio, supervising the launches of such series as Revenge and Scandal.
Prior to that, he was involved in the development of ABC Studios’ Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Reaper and Commander in Chief.
McDonald left the Head of Drama post in 2013 to launch his own company, Stearns Castle, with an overall deal at ABC Studios. He executive produced John Ridley’s American Crime and Guerilla as well as Monarca.
Before joining ABC Studios, McDonald worked at UPN, where he developed Kevin Hill and Veronica Mars and oversaw current for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He started off in producing as VP of Television at Sam Raimi’s Renaissance Pictures, where he served as producer on the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.