HOLLYWOOD RADIO & TELEVISION SOCIETY (HRTS) ANNOUNCES NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS 


HOLLYWOOD RADIO & TELEVISION SOCIETY (HRTS) ANNOUNCES NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS 

Disney Entertainment Television’s Tim McNeal Named HRTS President; Wattpad Webtoon’s David Madden New Chairperson

Amazon Studios’ Odetta Watkins Ends Tenure as Organization’s President After Ushering in New Era

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA, June 20, 2024 – The Hollywood Radio and Television Society (HRTS) Board of Directors has elected its new slate of Officers responsible for the direction of the organization. The HRTS will now be led by Disney Entertainment Television’s Tim McNeal, who will serve as the organization’s new President and Wattpad WEBTOON Studios’ David Madden, the newly elected Chairperson. The news was announced today by HRTS CEO Melissa Grego and outgoing HRTS President Odetta Watkins.

In addition to McNeal and Madden, the new HRTS Executive Board includes veteran and accomplished television executive and producer Christina Davis, named Vice President of the HRTS; Weintraub Tobin partner Scott Hervey, named Secretary; and Linnea McArt, Vice President and Managing Director, 1st Century Bank, who will serve as Treasurer. All of the new officers were elected to two-year terms. 

McNeal, who is Senior Vice President of Creative Talent Development & Inclusion for Disney Television Studios, succeeds Amazon Studios’ Watkins as HRTS President. Watkins, who is Head of Drama Series for Amazon Studios, has led HRTS’ Executive Board since January 2021, ushering the organization into a new era of participation and innovation with the launch of the HRTS Foundation upon HRTS’ 75th anniversary. 

Industry veteran Madden, who currently serves as Head of Global Entertainment for Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, succeeds Dan Erlij, Partner and Co-Head, Television Literary Department, United Talent Agency, as HRTS Chairperson. 

Other outgoing Executive Board members include Vice President Francesca Orsi (EVP, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films), Secretary Charlie Andrews (EVP Live-Action & Unscripted Series, Disney Branded Television) and Treasurer Alejandro Uribe (CEO, Exile Content). 

Under Watkins and Grego’s leadership, the organization launched the HRTS Foundation in 2022, a standalone charity whose mission is to provide education, training and resources to underrepresented individuals, by facilitating access and removing barriers to their success in the entertainment industry. HRTS Board Member Philippe Maigret (President, ITV Studios America) serves as President of the HRTS Foundation and Grego is Chairperson. Also, during Watkins’ time as HRTS President, the organization celebrated its 75th anniversary with a successful gala and hit all-time individual membership highs.

“I’m humbled by our newly elected Officers’ enthusiasm for this storied organization and its future,” Grego said. “They each bring important expertise, perspective and relationships that make them uniquely positioned to help build on the HRTS’ exciting and pivotal new era. It is vitally important that we uphold the HRTS tradition of innovation to serve new and existing members amid the challenges we face as an industry.” 

Grego added, “I also want to thank our outgoing Officers, who remain Board Directors, for their dedicated service to HRTS, especially Odetta, who has helped steer our organization through a pandemic, several work stoppages and an industry-wide transition period that we’re all still grappling with. On top of her full-time role with Amazon Studios, Odetta has been unstoppable on behalf of the HRTS and I’ve personally learned so much from her.”    

“I have had the honor and privilege of witnessing the unifying impact this organization has had on so many, with so much participation across the industry at all career levels. I am forever grateful to Melissa Grego – the best CEO in the business, and I remain forever dedicated to HRTS,” said Watkins. “I am looking forward to working with the new Dream Team of Board Officers led by industry titans, Tim McNeal and David Madden. I have no doubt that they will take HRTS to greater heights, serving the needs of our membership as our industry continues to evolve.”

“This is a significant moment in the history of HRTS and I am honored to serve in this important role. I’m incredibly grateful to Odetta Watkins for her vision, dedication, and tenacity, which led to the creation of the HRTS Foundation,” said McNeal. “Equally, in this time of extraordinary change, I am excited for what the future holds working alongside newly elected Chairperson David Madden, Vice President Christina Davis, Treasurer Linnea McArt and members of the Board. Together, we will chart the next phase of our venerable organization in service of shaping a more equitable future of entertainment and meeting the growing demand of all members and the industry writ large.”

McNeal, who is SVP, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion for Disney Entertainment Television, was elected to the HRTS Board of Directors in 2023. He oversees the Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Team responsible for implementing innovative programs and initiatives, from hiring events and programs to community relationship-building to tracking and reporting the company’s progress toward more inclusive hiring. 

A veteran of television programming development, McNeal transitioned into talent development as vice president of Talent Development & Diversity at Disney in 2006. With the 2013 restructuring of the team, he was promoted to head of Creative Talent Development & Inclusion. In his role, McNeal oversees Disney Entertainment’s Creative Talent Development hiring referrals and events, professional development offerings and talent programs, including the Disney Directing and Writing Programs, Disney PA program and National Latino Media Council (NLMC)/National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Latino Television Writers Program, among others. 

He is also responsible for further expanding the scope of these programs across Disney Entertainment Television. Additionally, McNeal serves as a primary liaison between Disney Entertainment and diversity-related coalitions, nonprofit arts institutions, and entertainment industry guilds; and he leads the strategic planning for the Company’s diversity agenda across Disney Entertainment Television business units.

Prior to joining Disney Entertainment Television, McNeal was part of the programming team that launched The WB Television Network in 1995. As vice president, Drama Development, McNeal developed such groundbreaking series as “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “7th Heaven” and “Felicity” – all of which were instrumental in building the success of the new network. After working in development for several years, McNeal had a first-look writing deal at The WB. He eventually returned to the executive ranks as senior vice president, Development, Tom Lynch Company, where he led the production company’s expansion from kid-centered daytime entertainment to primetime television. Prior to making the move into development at The WB, McNeal was a literary agent at InterTalent and ICM Agencies. A California native, McNeal is active in a variety of community groups. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.

David Madden currently serves as Head of Global Entertainment for Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, the fan-driven global entertainment and publishing arm for WEBTOON and Wattpad. He oversees development, production, and sales for the company’s global TV, feature film, and animation businesses. Madden serves as Executive Producer on the studio’s adaptations of popular Wattpad webnovels and WEBTOON webcomics including Rachel Smythe’s 1.2 billion-view WEBTOON sensation LORE OLYMPUS with The Jim Henson Company; the Wattpad webnovel BOOT CAMP and SIGUE MI VOZ by prolific Wattpad author Ariana Godoy. 

Previously, Madden was President of Television for Berlanti Productions, overseeing 15 scripted series, as well as numerous unscripted projects for the company. He served as an Executive Producer for THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT for HBO Max, YOU for Netflix, and SUPERMAN AND LOIS and KUNG FU for the CW, as well as the upcoming series GIRLS ON THE BUS for HBO Max and pilots for DEAD BOY DETECTIVES at HBO Max, GOTHAM KNIGHTS for the CW, and FOUND for NBC. 

As AMC Networks’ President of Programming, Entertainment Networks, Madden oversaw all scripted and non-fiction content development for AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, Sundance TV, as well as President of AMC Studios. There Madden oversaw a slate of programming for AMC that included THE WALKING DEAD, Emmy nominee BETTER CALL SAUL, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THE TERROR, PREACHER, THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL, NOS4A2, LODGE 49, DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE, and many others. On the unscripted side, he supervised TALKING DEAD, RIDE WITH NORMAN REEDUS, and ELI ROTH’S HISTORY OF HORROR. 

Madden previously spent nearly two decades at FOX, most recently President of Entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company, responsible for all programming and development, including series such as EMPIRE, LUCIFER, THE RESIDENT, LETHAL WEAPON, 911, BROOKLYN 99, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, THE MICK, as well as reboots of PRISON BREAK, 24, and THE X FILES. He also oversaw all unscripted programming, including the MASTERCHEF and MASTERCHEF JUNIOR franchise, and supervised the Emmy-winning production of GREASE LIVE. 

Christina Davis is a veteran and accomplished television executive and producer and has previously served as a Secretary of the HRTS. She is currently a Producer at Amazon Studios.  Previously, she served as President, Original Programming, Starz. Prior to that, under the banner Maniac Productions, Davis had an overall deal at ABC Studios, developing content for all platforms: broadcast, streaming, cable and film. The projects include Code Black, Quantico, among other projects in development. 

During her 20 years in drama development at CBS, Davis helped develop such successful series as the CSI and NCIS franchises, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, Madam Secretary, Scorpion, Criminal Minds, Elementary, The Mentalist, Seal Team, S.W.A.T. and The Good Wife, among others.

Scott Hervey is a partner with Weintraub Tobin, co-heads the HRTS Unscripted series for the HRTS Board with Greg Lipstone and is a Board Member of the HRTS Foundation. With over 25 years of practice, Scott represents studios, production companies, producers, directors, and showrunners in a wide variety of entertainment industry transactions, including network negotiations, development deals, and all forms of rights acquisitions.

He is the co-lead of Weintraub Tobin’s Business & Legal Affairs group, which provides outsourced comprehensive business, legal, and production affairs to studios and production companies around the world. Recent projects include “Severance,” “Poker Face” and “Tokyo Vice.”

Scott is also the founder and host of The Briefing, a media and intellectual property-focused podcast series. With over 100 episodes since 2021, Scott and his guests discuss current issues related to IP and entertainment.

Linnea McArt is a Vice President, Managing Director and Relationship Manager with 1st Century Bank. She has 19 years of banking experience and 27 years working in the financial industry with a focus on the legal, real estate and entertainment industries.

 

About HRTS

Led by a Board of Directors comprising TV and entertainment’s most distinguished leaders, Hollywood Radio & Television Society is the premier networking, education and mentorship association in the industry. Our membership community includes 50+ Corporate Members and 2100+ individual members, representing the top companies across the landscape. We build on HRTS’ rich, 75-year tradition of providing an unparalleled forum for conversation and community through events, our best-in-class mentorship program and other initiatives for professionals at all career stages — from student to C-suite — in Los Angeles, NYC and around the world.


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