Ayo Davis has been named to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Creative Development and Strategy, Disney Branded Television, it was announced by Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Branded Television, to whom she will report. Davis will oversee all live-action programming created by Disney Branded Television for Disney+ and the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior networks.
Davis will have oversight of scripted and unscripted series, movies and specials, and will manage the teams for Original Development, Current Programming, Original Movies, Unscripted Content, Casting & Talent Relations, Integrated Content Strategy, and Educational Resource Group/D&I. Executives reporting directly into Davis include the following:
- Jonas Agin, VP, Original Series
- Kory Lunsford, VP, Current Series
- Lauren Kisilevsky, VP, Original Movies
- Dan Silver, VP, Originals, Unscripted Content
- Judy Taylor, SVP, Casting & Talent Relations
- Theresa Helmer, Executive Director, Integrated Content Strategy
- Vicki Ariyasu, SVP, Educational Resource Group
In her new role, Davis will help fuel the Company’s Disney+ streaming platform and branded networks with programming geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families that is imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences.
In making the announcement, Marsh said, “Ayo’s sophistication and taste elevate every project she touches — and her impact on the television landscape is beyond measure. As we embark on the mission of bringing more world-class content to Disney-branded platforms, I could not imagine a more perfect executive with whom to partner.”
Davis said, “This is an exciting and incredible time of growth for Disney Branded Television. I am honored to work with Gary and his exceptional team in leveraging a strong legacy of storytelling to create engaging programming for generations of viewers to come.”
An 18-year ABC veteran, Davis most recently held the position of Executive Vice President, Talent and Casting, ABC Entertainment and Disney+. She was integral to many acclaimed series, including ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” Emmy® Award-winning “American Crime” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” and the Peabody Award-winning “black-ish.” She championed the careers of notable actors such as Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”), the first African American to win the Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category; Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”), Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Golden Globe® winner Gina Rodriguez.
Among her other contributions is the launch of ABC Discovers, a host of casting initiatives that aim to discover, nurture and create powerful opportunities for up-and-coming talent from around the world. Alumni of the program include Lupita Nyong’o, Gina Rodriguez and Pedro Pascal.
Davis is a member of the board of trustees of Dillard University and on the T. Howard Foundation’s board of directors for which she was also a 2020 award honoree. She was on the 2017 host committee board of Girls Inc. and was a 2016 honoree, as well as a member of Jack and Jill of America Inc., and a supporter of the nonprofit Links Incorporated, an organization that provides community service and mentors youth. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Dillard University.