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Discovery+ appoints talent, casting exec

Factual streamer Discovery+ has appointed former Nat Geo exec Missy Birns-Halperin to the newly created role of head of talent development and casting.

Missy Birns-Halperin

Birns-Halperin will be responsible for casting celebrity talent worldwide in original series and specials. She will also serve as a liaison, connecting talent with various Discovery+ teams, including programming, marketing, development, communications and social good.

Based out of Discovery’s Los Angeles office, she will report to chief corporate operating officer David Leavy.

Prior to joining Discovery, Birns-Halperin served as exec VP of global talent strategy for National Geographic Partners and spent nearly three decades leading talent relations for the Fox Broadcasting Company.

Leavy said: “Missy is one of the industry’s most respected relationship builders, connectors and creative partners. As Discovery+ continues to expand its premium storytelling, we hope to attract even more of the world’s top personalities, celebrities and talent to our new streaming service.”

In related news, Discovery+ is releasing a three-part factual series about the Vineland Boys Gang of Burbank, California who fatally shot a police officer in 2003, sparking a nationwide manhunt.

American Cartel is produced by Break Light Pictures, part of California factual conglomerate The Content Group (TCG), formerly Asylum Entertainment.

Break Light was founded last January by Dan Johnstone, who also exec produces the series. The other execs producers are Derek Owen, Jeff Daniels, TCG CEO Steve Michaels, TCG president Jodi Flynn and Discovery+’s Pamela Deutsch.


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