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US indie Eastern hires McKeown from Nutopia

US factual producer Eastern has recruited Simon McKeown as its senior VP, development.

He joins from Jane Root’s factual prodco Nutopia and will head up development at Eastern, which makes VH1 series Love & Hip Hop.

Prior to Nutopia, McKeown was at Love Productions, where hus credits include the popular and controversial fact-ent series Benefits Street. He has also worked for the BBC and Zig Zag in the UK.

Separately, Eastern has upped Jillian Brand and Gregg Lieberman to development VPs and Lisa Lee King to VP, casting.

Toby Barraud and Stefan Springman, Eastern co-founders and executive producers said: “We have a robust development pipeline and are confident this team will help us in bringing 20+ projects in active development to fruition.”

McKeown added: “I’m delighted to be joining one of the most exciting production companies working in television. It’s an opportunity to build on the fantastic work everybody has done here and really grow the company’s slate into new genres and networks.”