Jennifer O’Connell

O’Connell is co-CEO of Velvet Hammer Media (VHM), the unscripted production company she co-founded in 2023 with partner Rebecca Quinn. VHM creates, produces and distributes original non-fiction content with a focus on formats, special-event programs and documentaries.

Prior to VHM, O’Connell was EVP, non-fiction and live-action family originals at HBO Max, responsible for the platform’s unscripted and alternative programming, and feature documentaries. She launched such hit content as Selena + Chef; Fboy Island; Legendary; Love, Lizzo; Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty; Class Action Park, What Happened, Brittany Murphy?; and LFG; as well as the top-performing Friends and Fresh Prince reunion specials. She also developed and oversaw live-action scripted content including the critically acclaimed Gordita Chronicles from Zoe Saldana and Eva Longoria.

Previously, O’Connell was EVP and head of worldwide alternative programming at Lionsgate. She has held positions as a buyer at NBCUniversal, a producer at Core Media Group and Shed Media U.S., and as a scripted creative executive at Disney Channel and the Family Channel. She also shepherded Selling Sunset, The Real Housewives of New York City, The Biggest Loser and Kevin Hart’s What the Fit and more.