By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Former ABC head of drama Brian Morewitz and former ABC Signature head of comedy Melanie Frankel have joined Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment as Heads Of Creative. Morewitz and Frankel will both run the creative and work across comedy and drama, spearheading projects from inception through on-air run as executive producers.
The duo will lead Kapital’s development team, which includes the company’s creative executives Jessie Abbott and Kevin Marco — both of whom have been promoted to VP — as well as Evan Terrell who has joined Kapital as creative executive.
Additionally, Kapital has brought in Matt Conner as VP of Production, reporting to the company’ head of production Michael Lohmann, and has promoted Sean Richards, who works for Kapital’s head of business affairs Sandra Ortiz, to VP of Business Affairs.
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The slew of hires and promotions come as Kapital kicks off 2022 with four new series premieres this week — NBC comedy American Auto is making a regular time slot debut tonight after a December preview; ABC limited series Women Of the Movement and companion docuseries Let the World See both premiere Thursday, Jan. 6; and Fox comedy Pivoting debuts Sunday, Jan. 9.
The company current roster features 10 series: Women Of the Movement, Fox animated comedy Housebroken and the upcoming Hulu drama Black Cake, on which Kapital is the studio; ABC’s A Million Little Things, on which it is co-studio; as well as American Auto, Let the World See, Pivoting, CBS’ The Neighborhood, Showtime’s The Chi and the upcoming Starz horror comedy Shining Vale. Additionally, Kaplan executive produces Netflix’s International Emmy-winning drama Delhi Crime.
The large volume of production in addition to continuing active development and selling to all platforms (Kapital now has series across all four major broadcast networks as well as premium cable and streaming) is behind the expansion of the executive team at Kapital, which was launched by Kaplan as one-person operation in 2009.
The size of Kapital’s portfolio and Kaplan’s growth ambitions were also the rationale behind the decision to bring in two seasoned executives, Morewitz and Frankel, as executive producer/Head of Creative. (They succeed Dana Honor, who left last month after five years at the company.) Both Morewitz and Frankel have worked with Kaplan and Kapital in their most recent positions at Disney; Morewitz was the company’s network partner on Women Of the Movement and A Million Little Things; Frankel was Kapital’s studio partner on American Housewife and AMLT.
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VPs Abbott and Marco, who will be working with Morewitz and Frankel, are the executive in charge of A Million Little Things, Shining Vale, Women of the Movement, Pivoting and Black Cake (Abbott) and American Auto and Housebroken (Marco).
Conner is segueing to his new role as VP of Production for Kapital after serving as the Production Manger on the company’s Women of the Movement. Based in Los Angeles, Conner will be working for Kaplan’s longtime production partner, Lohmann, who is based in Nashville where Kaplan and Lohmann control 150,000 square feet of stages, used in the filming of the Kapital’s CBS All Access series Tell Me a Story.
“Brian and Melanie are not just amazing executives – they are also good friends, and I am beyond thrilled that they will be leading our growing creative team, which is also welcoming Evan as a member,” Kaplan said. “The well-deserved promotions of Jessie, Kevin and Sean are a testament to their great work, and adding Matt as the VP of Michaels production team will allow us to be even more efficient, flexible and thoughtful when making content.”
During his five-year tenure as SVP, Head of Drama Development at ABC Entertainment, Morewitz oversaw the development and production of all drama pilots and limited series and the launch of new drama series for the network. During his tenure as Head of Drama, ABC added such hit series as The Good Doctor, Station 19, The Rookie, A Million Little Things and Big Sky. Morewitz joined ABC as VP Drama Development in November 2004. In that role, he developed and oversaw successful series such as Castle, Quantico, Revenge, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nashville and Brothers and Sisters as well as the Emmy-winning American Crime.
Before joining ABC, Morewitz was SVP of Escape Artists, where he helped develop feature films, including Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage and S.W.A.T. Previously he held other development positions within the motion picture industry, including SVP at Black and Blu Entertainment. He began his career as Story Editor for New Line Cinema.
As Head of Comedy at ABC Signature, Frankel developed across various streaming and network platforms. During her tenure, the studio received pilot and series orders at Hulu, Freeform, Apple and ABC.
Frankel started her Disney career in 2004 as comedy coordinator at ABC. She then segued to ABC Studios (now Signature) and worked in the studio’s Comedy Department from 2007-2011, before leaving to become head of Comedy Development for USA Network. There, she developed the series Playing House, Sirens and Benched, before returning to ABC Studios to work as VP in the Current Department from 2015-19 covering both comedies and dramas. She has also worked in development at Imagine and Grammnet.
Conner launched his producing career on ABC’s Surviving Suburbia starring Bob Saget. Since then, he has worked as a Producer and Production Manager on a variety of multi-camera and single-camera productions for NBC, ABC Family, Nickelodeon, Facebook, Starz, Netflix and ABC, including four seasons as the Producer of The Exes with Kristen Johnston and Donald Faison for TV Land. He was the Supervising Producer for CMT’s Still the King, shot on location in Nashville.
Prior to joining Kapital, Richards was Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Michael Eisner’s Tornante Television, where he worked on such shows as BoJack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie and Undone.
Terrell was most recently a Senior Coordinator at Hasbro and prior to that was a production coordinator at TruTV.
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