Original Productions has hired veteran executive Jeff Hasler as president of the prolific unscripted TV production company owned by FremantleMedia. Hasler will oversee all development, production, business and strategic aspects of the company along with Ernie Avila, COO and EVP, Business Affairs and Sarah Whalen, EVP Development and Programming. Avila and Whalen, who have been running Original Prods. in the past couple of years, will now report into Hasler.
Hasler joins Original Productions from National Geographic Studios where he served as EVP of production and development, overseeing original non-scripted television, feature documentary and other projects including the acclaimed documentary Jane, directed by Brett Morgen, as well as the Emmy-nominated series StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Explorer, series Chain of Command, documentary Gender Revolution with Katie Couric, and the recently Sports Emmy-nominated Breaking 2.
Previously, Hasler also spent nearly five years as SVP of Development and Production for Discovery Channel, managing all programming for the broadcaster, as well as providing content for its international outlets, including such shows as Man v. Wild, Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, Into the Wild, Storm Chasers, and the channel’s annual Shark Week event. For its feature doc division, Discovery Films, he also oversaw the commissioning and production of In the Shadow of the Moon, the Oscar-nominated Encounters at the End of the World and the Oscar-winning Man on Wire.
Prior to joining Discovery, Hasler served as director of programming at A&E, overseeing nonfiction and reality series including Biography and the initial development of Gene Simmons Family Jewels. He spent his early years writing, directing and producing series for Bravo (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), TLC, The History Channel, VH1, PBS and Food Network, and served as co-producer of the Showtime original film Walter and Henry. Hasler began his career in the industry as an independent feature and documentary filmmaker.
“With his extensive work across the media landscape and deep expertise in unscripted content, Jeff is the ideal person to lead Original Productions. His industry track record is impressive and we are thrilled to have him at the helm of the company,” stated Jennifer Mullin, CEO, FremantleMedia North America.
Original Prods., which has developed more than 100 shows including Discovery’s staple Deadliest Catch, has 14 series in production on seven U.S. networks.