Ayo Davis was named president, Disney Branded Television, in September 2021. She leads the business unit's operations, including programming, strategy, development, current, production, casting, business affairs and marketing and fuels content — scripted and unscripted, live-action and animated — for Disney+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior, with a primary focus on imaginative, aspirational stories geared towards kids, tweens, teens and families. She reports to Peter Rice, chairman, Disney General Entertainment.
For nearly 20 years, Davis has worked on the creative side of television at Disney. She was previously executive vice president, Creative Development and Strategy of Disney Branded Television (2020-21), overseeing scripted and unscripted series, movies and specials targeted to kids, teens and families. In that role, Davis cultivated partnerships with notable talent and attracted high-auspice projects, including attaching Kerry Washington's Simpson Street Productions to Janae Marks' critically acclaimed book "From the Desk of Zoe Washington" and attaching Eva Longoria and Ben Spector's UnbeliEVAble Entertainment to Carlos Hernandez's "Sal & Gabi Break the Universe." She is also responsible for helping to bring in "House of Secrets" from Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Chris Columbus. Davis collaborates closely with studios across Disney, including 20th Television and ABC Signature, to create exceptional programming for the company's streaming and linear platforms.
Prior to joining Disney Branded Television, she was executive vice president, Talent and Casting, at 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 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category; Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives"); Jesse Williams ("Grey's Anatomy"); and Golden Globe® winner Gina Rodriguez.
Among Davis' other contributions is the launch of ABC Discovers, a collection of casting initiatives that aims 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.
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