Melanie Frankel is leaving ABC Signature where she served as head of comedy for the past two years. According to sources, Frankel opted to depart before the end of her contract. She has not yet decided what she will do next. Meanwhile, ABC Signature, part of Disney Television Studios, is searching for a new head of comedy, with Frankel staying on as a consultant until a replacement is found.
Frankel, then VP Current at ABC Studios, was named head of comedy for the studio (later renamed ABC Signature) in September 2019 in the first major executive appointment for Jonnie Davis after he became ABC Studios president. Most of Frankel’s tenure was during the pandemic, which altered the broadcast development cycle. None of ABC Signature’s 2021 comedy pilots were picked up to series but most had been put in development and sold before Frankel took the top comedy job.
There have been a lot of executive comings and goings lately as the business — and the country — emerged from the darkest, pre-vaccination days of the pandemic. Frankel is the the third ABC Signature development executive to leave in the past couple of weeks, joining Lisa Lang McMullen and Amanda Barclay who went to Netflix.
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Most recently, Frankel and her team sold the series This Fool to Hulu, as well as the animated presentation Standing By with Dan Levy. They also recently completed the Phoebe Robinson pilot, Everything’s Trash, for Freeform.
During Frankel’s tenure, ABC Signature made deals with such creators as Levy, Aline Brosh McKenna, Nisha Ganatra, Jordan Reddout & Gus Hickey, Austen Earl, and Yvette Lee Bowser.
Frankel started her career as a coordinator at ABC in 2004. She moved to ABC Studios 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. She has also worked in development at Imagine and Grammnet.
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