People/Biz

Eastern hires Nutopia’s McKeown, ups two

New York- and Atlanta-based Love & Hip Hop producer Eastern has named former Nutopia exec Simon McKeown (pictured) as senior VP of development, and has promoted Jillian Brand and Gregg Lieberman to VPs of development.
January 14, 2015

New York- and Atlanta-based Love & Hip Hop prodco Eastern has named former Nutopia exec Simon McKeown (pictured) as senior VP of development, and has promoted Jillian Brand and Gregg Lieberman to VPs of development.

McKeown previously served as head of development for UK indie Nutopia, which he joined in August of 2013, overseeing series such as Bear Grylls’ Great British Adventures for ITV.

Before joining the company, McKeown occupied the same position at Love Productions, where he developed the series Benefits Street and Why Don’t You Speak English, among others.

In other news, Eastern has upped directors of development Brand and Lieberman to the roles of VPs of development.

Prior to joining the company in 2014, Brand developed both scripted and unscripted programming for Zodiak New York and DiGa Vision, while Lieberman – who joined Eastern in 2010 - helped develop specials and series including The Epic History of Everyday Things, K. Michelle: My Life and Crazy Hearts Nashville. Before joining Eastern, Lieberman worked for more than 25 years as a journalist with Murdoch Magazines and Reed/Elsevier.

In addition, Eastern has also promoted director of casting Lisa LeeKing to the position of VP of casting. Since joining the company in 2005, the exec has worked on casting across many of Eastern’s programs. She previously worked for Rock Shrimp, Embassy Row, the BBC and Lion TV.

“This is a very exciting time for Eastern as we grow our development team with Simon and expand the roles for Jillian, Gregg and Lisa – some of the best in the business,” said Toby Barraud and Stefan Springman, co-founders and executive producers at Eastern, in a joint statement.

“We have a robust development pipeline and are confident this team will help us in bringing 20 plus projects in active development to fruition,” they added.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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