Fusion – the ABC News-Univision joint venture set to launch later this year – has tapped writer-producer Billy Kimball as senior vp and chief programming officer. Kimball co-wrote the 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman with Davis Guggenheim and has written and produced several installments of the annual Independent Spirit Awards.
A Harvard-educated writer and humorist (he was editor of the Harvard Lampoon), Kimball is an unorthodox choice for Fusion, the English-language news and lifestyle network aimed at acculturated second and third generation Hispanics. He began his career on HBO’s sketch comedy satire Not Necessarily the News and went on the produce and co-host the talk show Afterdrive with Denis Leary on the Ha! network, which was the precursor to Comedy Central.
Kimball has written multiple episodes of The Simpsons and was the first executive producer on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. He has also worked regularly with Al Franken, producing Comedy Central’s Franken-headlined coverage of the 1992 presidential election as well as Franken’s Air America radio program.
In an email to staffers announcing the new hire, Beau Ferrari, interim president for Fusion and executive vp of operations at Univision Networks, noted Kimball’s “broad range of experience as both a creator of content and a manager of creative people and processes.”
Kimball will based at Fusion headquarters in Miami.
“Billy has a proven track record as a unique and very talented creative executive,” added Ferrari. “Simply put, he knows what it takes to keep an audience tuning in night after night. We’re very fortunate he’s now leading Fusion’s programming team. I’m confident he’ll keep our new program lineup and series bold, fresh, informative and fun."
Fusion has been on a hiring spree of late adding several anchors and reporters including Derrick Ashong, who anchored an eponymous program on Sirius XM’s Oprah Radio, Portuguese investigative journalist Mariana van Zeller and Peruvian-American writer and comedian Elise Roedenbeck. Univision is staffing the network while ABC is handling distribution. So far Fusion has secured carriage on Cox, Cablevision, AT&T U-verse and Charter systems. But it has yet to land distribution on cable giant Comcast, Time Warner Cable or satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.
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