Sydney-based Essential Media and Entertainment, producer of the Australian TV series Rake and executive producer of the Fox adaptation, is opening a Los Angeles office which will be headed by Simonne Overend, who has been named VP of Drama Development. Overend will be working closely with Essential CEO Chris Hilton and Head of Drama Ian Collie to build a full drama slate for the US market. The Sony TV/Fedora Entertainment-produced Rake starring Greg Kinnear appears a lock for a series pickup at Fox, which is expected to start making series orders later today or tomorrow.

UTA-repped Essential also produced a series of TV movies, Jack Irish, starring Guy Pearce. The company is currently in production on The Broken Shore for ABC Australia, based on Peter Temple’s best-selling novel On the film side, Essential executive produces Disney’s upcoming Saving Mr Banks (with Ruby Films) starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. It is part of the Essential Media Group, which also includes Essential 11 Television, producer of TruTV’s Panic Button. Prior to joining Essential, Overend held roles in film and television development, production and distribution in Australia, Singapore and Europe. She has worked for a range of companies, including RGM Artist Group, ABC, BBC4, Disney, Roadshow, Film Victoria and United International Pictures.