People/Biz

Joel Zimmer named head of development at Magical Elves

Los Angeles-based non-fiction prodco Magical Elves, part of The Tinopolis Group, has appointed Joel Zimmer as EVP of development, while long-time Magical Elves casting executive Samantha Hanks has been elevated to EVP ...
January 22, 2020

Los Angeles-based non-fiction prodco Magical Elves, part of The Tinopolis Group, has appointed Joel Zimmer as EVP of development, while long-time Magical Elves casting executive Samantha Hanks has been elevated to EVP of casting and talent relations.

Zimmer (pictured left) will lead the team responsible for all development and sales for Magical Elves.

He previously ran indie banner Snow Day Entertainment, which produced and developed projects with A&E Originals, Fox Studios and Zee Americas. Before that, he was head of current for 495 Productions where he oversaw and executive produced programming for cable and broadcast networks, and served as showrunner on multiple series, including Design Star for HGTV and Dance Your Ass Off for Oxygen.

Zimmer’s first producing job was with Magical Elves on an early season of Last Comic Standing for NBC.

“There’s not a Magical Elves series over the last decade that I haven’t secretly wished I had created or worked on,” said Zimmer in a statement. “I’m thrilled to work with Casey, Jo and their amazing team as we start a new decade and develop even more series that bring the signature Magical Elves brand of elevated storytelling and characters.”

Hanks’s (right) expanded role, meanwhile, will include continued oversight of all casting of talent and contestants for the company’s entire slate of projects, while also exploring additional strategic partnerships for Magical Elves.

In her tenure, Hanks has overseen key casting on projects including the Nailed It! for Netflix, as well as the most recent seasons of Project Runway for Bravo. Other credits include the Brain Games reboot for Nat Geo, Bravo’s Top Chef, Netflix’s Sugar Rush, Universal Kids’ Top Chef Junior and American Ninja Warrior Junior, and Oxygen’s Cold Justice.

Prior to Magical Elves, Hanks produced Star Plates for Food Network and worked for film producers Jane Rosenthal at Tribeca Productions, Lynda Obst at Paramount Pictures and director/producer Jon Favreau.

“Over the past 10 years, Magical Elves has become my home,” said Hanks, “I’m extremely proud of the work our team has produced, and I look forward to building even more relationships with first-rate talent and network partners.”

Added Magical Elves co-CEOs Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon: “With the addition of Joel, and the elevation of Samantha, Magical Elves has the right leadership in place to continue our growth, and further evolve our slate of quality, aspirational programming. Samantha’s contributions to casting and attracting high-caliber talent has been a key factor in our current success, and with Joel’s added expertise and enthusiasm, both executives will play a crucial role in dreaming up and creating the next generation of hit projects for Magical Elves.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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