Imagine Entertainment has elevated executives Tony Hernandez and Lilly Burns to co-presidents, giving them full creative control of scripted film and television.
Hernandez and Burns currently run the buzzy production shingle Jax Media, in which Imagine took a majority ownership stake in 2018. They will continue to operate Jax in addition to developing and producing at Imagine. Their previous hits include the just-renewed “Emily in Paris” at Netflix, HBO Max’s “Search Party,” and the awards player “Russian Doll.”
“This was such a natural fit. Jax, led by Tony and Lilly, are so talent friendly and focused on building businesses around really talented, entrepreneurial creatives. They make things possible, and thats consistent with what we try to do at Imagine,” founding partner Ron Howard told Variety.
Their oversight will include films, series, kids and family, and international content.
“Since we began our partnership with Imagine, it was immediately evident that our creative process aligned with Ron and Brian. Imagine has had its finger on the pulse of culture for almost 30 years, and we are excited and honored to continue carrying on this iconic company’s tradition,” Hernandez and Burns said in a joint statement.
The promotions will not presently impact staffing or budgets, though Imagine leadership told Variety that Hernandez and Burns will focus on increasing volume in scripted — as the unit has done successfully with an explosion of documentary content under Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein over the past two years. Howard and his founding partner Brian Grazer also said that Jax’s physical production unit will benefit the overall Imagine infrastructure.
“Tony and Lilly have shown the proven ability to find and execute great content that is culturally resonating. Like us, they also share a common interest in supporting creators in their ability to showcase their unique voices and visions,” added founding partner Grazer. When asked about reports that Imagine was currently entertaining a potential sale, Grazer said he will continue “to seek ways to monetize the company.”
Hernandez and Burns operate out of New York, and have already combined office spaces with Imagine’s unscripted unit.
Additional Jax Media projects include HBO Max’s “Black Lady Sketch Show,” Showtime’s “Desus and Mero,” the recently-wrapped series “Younger,” the industry favorite “The Other Two,” and “Full Front With Samantha Bee.”