5 things to know about ABC’s Ayo Davis, head of casting

Photo credit: Disney/ABC
Photo credit: Disney/ABC

ABC has announced their new head of talent and casting, and it’s a Black woman named Ayo Davis.

The woman who previously held the head casting position, Keli Lee, relocated to London in November to serve as a managing director of international content and talent for ABC Entertainment Group, according to Deadline. Ever since then, Davis has been filling in for Lee, but she was named as the permanent replacement last week.


“Ayo has done an amazing job identifying and bringing new talent into the fold for both the studio and network,” said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey. “Her keen eye and proven track record make her perfect for this position.”

Here are five facts about the new ABC casting leader.


She’s been working at ABC for 13 years.

Davis joined the ABC casting team 13 years ago and oversaw the pilots for “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and other series. She was then promoted from vice president to senior vice president of talent and casting at ABC Entertainment Group in 2015.

She supervised casting for “Scandal” and some of our other favorite shows.

As senior vice president of talent and casting, Davis supervised casting for all scripted primetime series on the network, including “black-ish,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “Modern Family.”

She led the launch of ABC Discovers.

ABC Discovers is a worldwide search for fresh talent. Davis led the development of this initiative that has discovered some of the network’s most amazing talent over the years. Former ABC Discovers participants include Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Jesse Williams, and Gina Rodriguez.

Her first order as head of talent and casting was hiring a new vice president of talent and casting for ABC.

In her new role, Davis’ first decision was hiring WME talent agent Jonathan Bluman as the new VP of talent and casting. Bluman represents actors such as Mahershala Ali, Benjamin Bratt, Omar Epps, Cheryl Hines, Adrianne Palicki, Melissa Rauch and Maya Rudolph.

“Jonathan’s reputation for finding and developing talent precedes him. We’re excited for him to join our team and bring his exceptional skill set to ABC,” Davis said.

She has a connection to Sanaa Lathan.

Before linking up with ABC, Davis worked with Stan Lathan, the famous producer/director and father to actress Sanaa Lathan. Davis worked under him at the management and production company, SLBG Management/Def Pictures.

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