Karey Burke is president of 20th Television, the powerhouse studio behind “This Is Us,” “American Horror Story,” “9-1-1” and its spinoff “9-1-1: Lonestar,” the “Genius” and “American Crime Story” anthologies, “Ratched,” and this year’s biggest broadcast hit, ABC’s “Big Sky.” She reports to Dana Walden, chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television.
Burke previously served as president of ABC Entertainment from December 2018 through November 2020, where she developed some of the most critically acclaimed and widely viewed live television events, including two Emmy® Award-winning “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” specials, as well as “The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” – which premiered as the most-watched live TV musical in four years. Under her leadership, ABC ranked as the No. 1 entertainment network of the 2019-2020 season, and for the first time in 24 years, regained the title as the No. 1 network for summer in 2019, propelled by the No. 1 series of summer – “The Bachelorette” – and an expanded and successful “Summer Fun & Games” brand. Additionally, ABC has two of the top four comedy series with “The Conners” and “The Goldbergs,” along with two of fall 2020’s top three new series: David E. Kelley’s “Big Sky,” and the new game show hosted by Leslie Jones, “Supermarket Sweep.”
As a champion of a more inclusive and collaborative creative environment, Burke was a driving force behind the launch of Walt Disney Television’s Executive Incubator Program, aimed at establishing a pipeline of next-generation executives with a deliberate focus on developing underrepresented talent.
Prior to ABC Entertainment, Burke served as executive vice president, Programming and Development at Freeform, since October 2014. In this role, she was charged with overseeing all scripted and unscripted development and current original programming, in addition to casting and talent development. Burke was also responsible for creating and executing a cohesive programming strategy for multiplatform distribution, and developing the high-quality, brand-defining content for which Freeform is now known. During her tenure, she transformed the programming slate, delivering 2018’s No. 1 new cable comedy (“grown-ish”) and No. 1 new cable drama (“Siren”) among its target audience, and establishing Freeform as the top-rated cable channel among Women 18-34.
Before Freeform, Burke partnered with director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) in Dark Toy Entertainment, which they created in 2010, producing “Free Agents” for NBC, as well as Matthew Perry’s comedy “Go On.” Previously, she joined forces with Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg as the third partner in their company, Katalyst Films. Burke oversaw the television division and a busy slate of scripted and reality programming, including “Miss Guided” and “The Beautiful Life,” in addition to the groundbreaking digital series “Blah Girls” and “Katalyst HQ.”
Prior to joining Katalyst, she partnered with Jamie Tarses in an overall production deal with NBC Universal Television. From 1999 until 2003, she served as executive vice president of Primetime Series at NBC, overseeing production of all primetime comedy and drama programming, including Emmy® Award-winning shows “West Wing,” “Will & Grace” and “ER.” During this time, she supervised the development of acclaimed series “Freaks and Geeks,” “Scrubs,” “American Dreams,” “Boomtown,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Ed.” As senior vice president of Primetime Series from 1996-1999, Burke was involved in the development and production of “Friends,” “Mad About You,” “Providence” and “Just Shoot Me,” among other series.
Burke began her career as a comedy development assistant at NBC after graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with a degree in communication studies. She sits on the board of directors for The Paley Center, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Cayton’s Children’s Museum.