Bunim/Murray Finalizes Executive Team
Dani Wassel Named EVP, Business & Legal Affairs and Erica Ross Elevated to SVP, Development
September 9, 2021 – Bunim/Murray Productions has finalized its senior team and promoted a handful executives, including 11-year studio veteran Dani Wassel, who was named Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs for the Banijay-owned studio, it was announced today by new Bunim/Murray President Julie Pizzi.
In addition to Wassel’s promotion, Emmy Award-winning producer Erica Ross has been elevated to Senior Vice President of Development, Steve Ezell has joined BMP as Vice President, Development and Jacob Lane has been promoted to Vice President, Post Creative. Michael Driscoll has been named Director of Development and Luc Tousignant and Jake D’Onofrio have both been named Director of Creative Development.
Bunim/Murray Productions, which was originally founded in 1987, is behind such ground-breaking unscripted series as The Real World, Road Rules, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Challenge. Earlier this year, Paramount+ debuted The Real World Homecoming: New York and The Challenge: All Stars, Peacock just launched Born For Business and the studio is behind Facebook’s new additions, Sway Life and House of Creators.
Pizzi, who was named President of BMP in February, promoted three senior executives on her team earlier this year, including Rupert Dobson to Executive Vice President, Development. Additionally, Farnaz Farjam was named Executive Vice President, Current Programming and John Greco was promoted to Chief Operating Officer.
“We have incredible talent at BMP and we endeavor to keep the momentum of our success by promoting individuals who have been responsible for creating, developing, producing and editing signature series for our label,” said Pizzi.
Dobson added, “It’s fantastic that we can continue to retain and grow such great talent. This team continues to make us stronger as we navigate the evolving marketplace.”
Wassel, who has been with the studio since 2010 and has been named Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, oversees all day-to-day business and legal affairs matters in connection to development, production and distribution of all BMP programming. She formerly served as Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, for the studio from 2018-2021.
A member of BMP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Counsel, Wassel is passionate about supporting diverse voices, and continuing the studio’s legacy of producing groundbreaking programming with strong pro-social messaging. Before joining BMP, Wassel was an associate attorney at McKuin, Frankel, Whitehead LLP.
Ross, who has been named SVP, Development, originally got her start in reality TV production with Bunim/Murray in 2001. She has developed and produced many of the studio’s top series including The Real World Homecoming: New York for Paramount+, Family or Fiancé and Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN and the recently launched Born For Business on Peacock. She also has served as a supervising producer on numerous seasons of BMP’s Road Rules and The Challenge for MTV.
In between two stints at Bunim/Murray, Ross was at Magical Elves, where she worked on the acclaimed culinary competition Top Chef (Bravo) for eleven seasons. She has also served as a producer/showrunner for several other production companies, including PB&J Television, 51 Minds, and Fullscreen. With 20 years of experience in the business, Ross is an Emmy Award winner and 7-time Emmy nominated producer for her work on Top Chef.
Ezell has rejoined BMP as Vice President, Current Programming. Ezell initially joined BMP as an intern on The Real World in 2003 and spent the first half of his career serving as the Director of Photography for over 30 different projects across a variety of networks. In 2014, Ezell transitioned to producing, eventually taking over as showrunner on Oxygen’s hit series Bad Girls Club. He has served as an executive producer on multiple projects since, including six seasons on BMP’s Ball in the Family for Facebook Watch.
Lane, who has been promoted to VP, Post Creative, has been editing for television since 1998.
In his new role, Lane will be helping to shape new series from a post perspective in both story and style, while training, developing, and expanding new talent throughout the BMP post department. He has worked on such BMP series as The Real World Homecoming, Born This Way, Born For Business, Deaf Out Loud, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Total Bellas and The Challenge.
Driscoll, who was named Director of Development, has been with BMP since 2018.
During his time at Bunim-Murray Productions, Michael has sold projects to Discovery, TRVL, HBOMax, and Lifetime, as well as developed formats that have garnered interest from international counterparts in the Banijay family. Prior to joining the studio, he worked at Twentieth Century Fox and Sundance Institute.
D’Onofrio, who has been named Director, Development, has been with BMP since 2015.
He has been involved in creating sizzle reels, show graphics, filming and editing for projects such as Keeping Up with The Kardashians (E!), Transhood (HBO), The Healer (TLC), Endless Summer (SNAP), Family or Fiancé (OWN), For Real! (E!) and Lohan Beach Club (MTV).
And Tousignant, who was also named Director, Development, has been with Bunim Murray Productions since 2015. Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to help develop, film, act, edit, and create motion graphics for such projects as Earth Live (NAT GEO), Citizen Rose (E!), The Healer (TLC), CT’s Getting Married (MTV), Growing Up Is a Drag (SNAPCHAT), Stranded with Sam and Colby (SNAPCHAT) and Fear Not with Iyanla Vanzant (OWN).