Jennifer O’Connell is Executive Vice President, Non-Fiction & Live-Action Family Originals for HBO Max. Responsible for leading unscripted and alternative programming, O’Connell has developed a unique slate across a broad range of formats for an award-winning offering that’s bold, inclusive and unfiltered.
Working with prestige creators and brands as well as with new voices, O’Connell’s slate is geared toward female-skewing, Gen Z and millennial viewers and covers a wide array of topics that are both entertaining and socially relevant. In 2021, her unscripted slate was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Programming by a Network or Streaming Platform at Critics Choice Real TV Awards, just one year after HBO Max’s launch.
Among O’Connell’s feature documentaries and docuseries are The Way Down, Class Action Park, Heaven’s Gate, LFG, What Happened Brittany Murphy?, Beanie Mania, Not So Pretty, Take Out with Lisa Ling, Generation Hustle, and the forthcoming ProjectGreenlight from Issa Rae among more.
O’Connell also oversees the platform’s nostalgic event specials such as the top performing Friends: The Reunion, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, Fresh Prince Reunion, and The West Wing special to benefit Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote.”
On the reality side, O’Connell’s slate includes competition, dating and lifestyle programming such as the award-winning Selena + Chef, FBOY Island, The Hype, Legendary, Finding Magic Mike, and About Last Night, along with the upcoming The Big Brunch with Dan Levy and The Climb with Jason Momoa.
O’Connell is also responsible for creating live-action scripted content geared toward a co-viewing audience for older kids and adults including the Head of the Class reboot, the action-adventure family series Theodosia, and Gordita Chronicles from Zoe Saldana and Eva Longoria, who also directed the pilot.
Before HBO Max, O’Connell was EVP and Head of Worldwide Alternative Programming at Lionsgate, overseeing the development and production of unscripted across all platforms. O’Connell has also held positions at NBCUniversal, Core Media Group, Shed Media U.S., Disney Channel and the Family Channel, guiding and developing such projects as Selling Sunset, The Real Housewives of New York City, The Biggest Loser, Who Do You Think You Are?, Kevin Hart’s What the Fit, and Emmy Award®-winning The Matthew Shepherd Story.
O’Connell has served as a mentor for The Hollywood Reporter and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Women in Entertainment Mentorship program. She is on the Emerson College Alumni Board and launched an advisory program that links alumni with students studying in Los Angeles.