PLAYGROUND EXPANDS MANAGEMENT TEAM: Dan Leon joins as Head of Business Affairs and Director of Operations
Golden Globe®, BAFTA®, and RTS® Award-winning drama producer Playground has tapped former BBC Business Manager Dan Leon to join the company in the newly created role of Head of Business Affairs and Director of Operations, based out of its London offices. Reporting into Playground Founder and Chairman Colin Callender, Dan will be charged with managing the strategic growth and day to day running of the company.
Prior to joining Playground, Leon spent 11 years in the BBC’s Rights & Business Affairs division, where he worked in both in Drama Commissioning and more recently in the Central Commercial, Rights and Business Affairs team.
During his tenure at the BBC, Dan worked across a number of acclaimed projects including Jimmy McGovern series The Street, Accused, Wolf Hall, The Night Manager, Happy Valley and Death in Paradise. As part of the Central team, Dan was instrumental in the launch of BBC Three as an online channel with a pipeline of indie shows; as well as securing engagement from the indie sector on objectives regarding Diversity and Inclusion, and Real Living Wage. He has also played a critical role in the BBC’s launch of Contestability and Tendering requirements of the new Royal Charter.
Before joining the BBC, Dan worked at IWC Media as a Production Executive. Prior to that he held a variety of roles as a production manager, location manager and as a tour manager for various bands, a stint in stage management of Phantom of the Opera in Sydney and collaborator on number of film projects with acclaimed poet Tony Harrison.
Callender commented “I first met Dan on Wolf Hall and was immediately impressed by his deep understanding of how the business and the creative imperatives of production intersect. He is a great addition to our management team and, as our production slate expands under Sophie’s leadership, Dan’s commercial and operational expertise will play a vital role in the company’s ability to take full advantage of rapidly changing television landscape.”
Sophie Gardiner, Head of Drama and Executive Creative Director said, “I am delighted to welcome Dan at this very exciting moment in Playground’s evolution as a company. As we continue to grow, Dan’s experience and insights will be invaluable and I look forward to having him at the heart of our talented team.”
Dan Leon, Head of Business Affairs and Director of Operations added “Having had a wonderful time at the BBC and although sad to leave, I am very excited to be joining such a prestigious company as Playground. The company has an enviable track record and a prodigious slate of programmes. I am looking forward to working with Colin and Sophie and the whole of the talented team to grow Playground.”
Playground is currently represented on BBC One with critically claimed Howards End, Kenneth Lonergan’s four-part adaptation of EM Forster’s classic novel starring Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen and Tracey Ullman. Playground recently wrapped principal photography on Richard Eyre’s adaptation of King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Emily Watson for BBC Two and Amazon Prime Video. Upcoming Playground productions include Heidi Thomas’s miniseries adaptation of Little Women for the BBC and MASTERPIECE on PBS starring Emily Watson, Willa Fitzgerald, Maya Hawke, Annes Elwy and Kathryn Newton alongside Angela Lansbury and Michael Gambon.
Playground is a New York and London based television, film and theatre production company founded in 2012 by award-winning producer Colin Callender. It is committed to producing smart, entertaining drama for the screen and the stage bringing together the finest US and UK talent from the worlds of theatre, film, and television.
Playground has produced over 60 hours of prime-time television drama garnering 15 Emmy® nominations, 20 BAFTA® nominations and 12 Golden Globe® nominations, including winning a Golden Globe® for Best Miniseries.
Recent productions include Wolf Hall, the BAFTA®, Golden Globe® and Peabody® Award winning miniseries starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Claire Foy for the BBC and Masterpiece, and The Dresser, the RTS® winning television adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s acclaimed play starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins and directed by Richard Eyre for the BBC and Starz.
Playground’s slate this year includes The White Princess, a limited series for Starz drawn from the bestselling book by Philippa Gregory, Howards End, Academy® Award winner Kenneth Lonergan’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic novel starring Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen and Tracey Ullman directed by Hettie Macdonald for the BBC and Starz, Heidi Thomas’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women starring Emily Watson, Michael Gambon and Angela Lansbury for the BBC and Masterpiece on PBS, and Richard Eyre’s adaptation of King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson for the BBC and Amazon Prime Video.
Playground’s recent theatre productions on Broadway include: Nora Ephron’s Tony® nominated Lucky Guy directed by George C. Wolfe starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut, Harvey Fierstein’s Tony® nominated Casa Valentina directed by Joe Mantello, the Tony® Award winning revival of musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford’s critically acclaimed groundbreaking production of Macbeth at The Park Avenue Armory in New York.
Playground is currently represented on Broadway, with this year’s Tony® Award winning best musical Dear Evan Hansen, and in the West End, in partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions, with Casey Nicholaw’s Dreamgirls, and the acclaimed two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which recently won a record-breaking 9 Olivier® Awards.