Gunpowder & Sky Bolsters Non-Fiction Team With SVP Hires – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Gunpowder & Sky, the company behind Hulu’s 69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez and Discovery+’s Last Exit: Space documentaries, is expanding its non-fiction team.

The company, which has a first-look documentary deal with HBO and HBO Max, has hired Joanna Zwickel and Art Lyons.

Zwickel, who was previously Head of Development at My Entertainment, joins as SVP of Documentary Features and Series, while Art Lyons, who was previously SVP, Development at The Content Group, is joining as SVP of Unscripted.

Zwickel previously worked closely with Spotlight producer Sugar23 and Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas and before My Entertainment, was VP, Scripted TV development at MRC Studios and was one of the original hires at Blumhouse TV.

Project she has overseen include Hulu’s Fyre Fraud, Peacock’s Angelyne and FX’s Wilderness of Error.

Lyons, meanwhile, previously helped launch series such as TNT’s Shaq Life, Discovery’s Adam Devine’s Secret Shark Lair and Oxygen’s Framed By The Killer. He also co-created USA series Straight Up Steve Austin and prior to The Content Group, was Head of Development for Peacock Productions, where he developed Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers, AMC’s Ministry of Evil, and Discovery’s Phelps vs. Shark.

The hires come as Gunpowder & Sky, which is run by Van Toffler and Floris Bauer, is working on a new documentary about The Doors frontman Jim Morrison.

The join the team that includes David Gale, EVP of Development and Janet Brown, EVP of Distribution and Commercial Ops.

“Floris and I are fired up to welcome Joanna and Art to help accelerate our momentum on docs, doc series and unscripted formats,” said Van Toffler. “They join our already killer team.  We can’t wait for this next phase of unparalleled storytelling in the doc and unscripted formats.”

“Gunpowder and Sky has shown an invaluable ability to discover untold stories that resonate with the masses,” said Zwickel. “I am thrilled to be joining the company to continue building a slate of important, never-before-told, loud, inspiring and socially impactful documentary content for audiences worldwide.”

“Gunpowder & Sky is one of the most exciting content studios in the marketplace. I deeply admire Van’s track record of spearheading loud, iconic series that are cultural noisemakers,” added Lyons. “The company’s premium doc, unscripted and cinematic roots reflect the high level of craft they bring to every project. And their commitment to giving underrepresented artists and creators a platform to experiment is very forward-thinking. It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m thrilled to join Van, Floris and the rest of the team.”

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