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Gunpowder & Sky expands unscripted focus by hiring two senior VPs

LA-based production studio Gunpowder & Sky has made a pair of executive appointments as it looks to expand its unscripted and documentary operations.

Joanna Zwickel

The company has hired Joanna Zwickel as senior VP of documentary features and series and Art Lyons as senior VP of unscripted.

Zwickel joins Gunpowder & Sky from MY Entertainment, where she was development head for the documentary division, One Foot Forward Entertainment.

During her tenure at MY Entertainment, she was responsible for unscripted and scripted projects produced in partnership with Sugar23 (Spotlight, 13 Reasons Why), Unrealistic Ideas (Wahl St, McMillions), Alan Zweibel (700 Sundays, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Here Today) and Scout Productions (Equal, Queer Eye).

Before that, Zwickel was VP of scripted TV development at MRC Studios. She has also worked at The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, helping those outlets to launch TV divisions, and prior to that worked as a manager at Blumhouse TV.

Lyons most recently served as senior VP of development at California-based The Content Group, where he helped launch series and specials including TNT’s Shaq Life, Discovery’s Adam Devine’s Secret Shark Lair, Oxygen’s Framed By The Killer and ID’s The Detective Diaries.

Art Lyons

He also co-created the USA reality series Straight Up Steve Austin and developed and produced USA’s The Cromarties through his own independent production label.

He has previously served as head of development at Peacock Productions and was an executive producer at Discovery Studios, where he developed and produced projects across Discovery’s domestic and international networks.

In March, HBO and streamer HBO Max signed a first-look deal with Gunpowder & Sky, giving the WarnerMedia-owned network first refusal on the prodco’s factual library over a period of two years.

More recently, the company partnered with Jam Inc and the Jim Morrison estate to develop a documentary bringing the poetry and artistry of The Doors’ front man to life.

Elsewhere, the prodco’s recent credits include the Werner Herzog documentary Last Exit: Space, set to premiere on Discovery+ later this year, true crime doc 69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez (Hulu) and documentary Everybody’s Everything (Netflix) about the life and career of rapper Lil Peep.

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