Fremantle’s Original Productions (OP) has hired the highly accomplished producer and development executive, Jeff Stepp, as the company’s new Vice President of Development.
In addition to bringing Stepp on board, OP President Jeff Hasler, who took over the company earlier this year, has also expanded the role of OP veteran Jeff Bumgarner, who will now serve as Senior Vice President of Programming and Development. Since coming on board in May, Hasler has been further realigning the current team and bringing on board additional leading talent to push OP forward as they continue to innovate and serve as one of the entertainment industry’s most acclaimed non-fiction production companies.
“As we continue to build on OP’s brand of epic storytelling, bringing in exciting creative voices that help lead us into new creative territories will enable us to continue making compelling, genre-defining content for our platform partners and viewers,” said Jeff Hasler, president of Original Productions. “It’s important for me to look at how I can best combine new talent with our existing team members who have been shepherding the OP brand. Bringing Jeff Stepp on board, as well as expanding the role of Jeff Bumgarner, is an exciting phase for the company as we continue to push OP into new innovative realms.”
In his new role, Stepp will report to OP Executive Vice President of Programming and Development, Brian Lovett, who joined the company in August. Stepp’s focus will be on cultivating OP’s ideation of new original intellectual property, working with the overall team from inception to series launch. He will be charged with identifying characters, environments and narratives that lend themselves to furthering the company’s epic and compelling non-fiction programming, as well as partnerships that can expand OP’s production slate.
Stepp comes to OP from Karga 7 Pictures where he served as the Director of Development, overseeing series development with partners such as Animal Planet, Travel, Discovery and A&E. He also spent time as a Network Producer at Science Channel where he oversaw shows such as Outrageous Acts of Science, Survivorman, How the Universe Works and NASA’s Unexplained Files. Previously in his career, Stepp served as an independent Producer/Writer having worked on shows such as Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, which was nominated for two Emmy Awards including Outstanding Informational Series/Special and Outstanding Documentary/Non-Fiction Series.
Continuing his tenure at OP, Bumgarner has produced television across numerous genres including game, sketch comedy, reality, crime and automotive. He originally joined OP in 2010 as a producer on 1000 Ways to Die for Spike TV. Having since spent numerous years with the company on a variety of successful projects, Bumgarner has most recently been shepherding hit series such as Jay Leno’s Garage which airs on CNBC and examines the late night comedian’s passion for exotic vehicles. He has also overseen the long-running Storage Wars series on A&E that follows professional buyers on the hunt for hidden treasures.
Bumgarner, who also reports to Lovett, will be expanding his role within the company with a heightened focus on development. His extensive programming, production and show-making experience will allow him to take on more of a leadership role in driving forward OP’s most forward-thinking and unique new development projects.