Magical Elves Names Joel Zimmer as Head of Development, Samantha Hanks as Head of Casting, Talent Relations

Joel Zimmer Samantha Hanks Magical Elves
Courtesy of Magical Elves

Unscripted TV production company Magical Elves has made two key changes to its executive team, bringing on board veteran television producer and development exec Joel Zimmer as executive vice president of development, and promoting longtime Elves casting exec Samantha Hanks to executive vice president of casting and talent relations.

“With the addition of Joel, and the elevation of Samantha, Magical Elves has the right leadership in place to continue our growth, and further evolve our slate of quality, aspirational programming,” said Magical Elves co-CEOs Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon in a statement. “Samantha’s contributions to casting and attracting high-caliber talent has been a key factor in our current success, and with Joel’s added expertise and enthusiasm, both executives will play a crucial role in dreaming up and creating the next generation of hit projects for Magical Elves.”

Zimmer, who will be responsible for leading the company’s development and sales team, has a history with Magical Elves — his first producing job was with the company on an early season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” He more recently ran Snow Day Entertainment, which produced and developed projects with A&E Originals, Fox Studios and Zee Americas. Prior to his time there, Zimmer led current for 495 Productions, overseeing and exec producing over 500 hours of programming for cable and broadcast.

He has also been a showrunner for HGTV’s “Design Star” and Oxygen’s “Dance Your Ass Off,” among other series, and a producer on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and CNBC’s “Blue Collar Millionaires.”

“There’s not a Magical Elves series over the last decade that I haven’t secretly wished I had created or worked on,” said Zimmer. “I’m thrilled to work with Casey, Jo and their amazing team as we start a new decade and develop even more series that bring the signature Magical Elves brand of elevated storytelling and characters.”

Hanks’s new position as head of casting and talent relations means that in addition to continuing to oversee all talent and contestant casting at Magical Elves, she will also explore additional strategic partnerships for the company. Among the key casting she has overseen during her time with Elves are Netflix’s “Nailed It!”, hosted by Nicole Byer and Chef Jacque Torres, as well as the latest Bravo iteration of “Project Runway,” which includes host Karlie Kloss, designer mentor Christian Siriano, and judges Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth.

“Over the past ten years, Magical Elves has become my home,” said Hanks. “I’m extremely proud of the work our team has produced, and I look forward to building even more relationships with first-rate talent and network partners.”

Hanks’ other credits include Nat Geo’s “Brain Games” reboot, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, Bravo’s “Top Chef, Netflix’s “Sugar Rush,” Universal Kids’ “Top Chef Junior” and “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” and Oxygen’s “Cold Justice.” Prior to her time with Elves, she produced Food Network’s “Star Plates” and worked for film producers Jane Rosenthal at Tribeca Productions, Lynda Obst at Paramount Pictures and director-producer Jon Favreau.