Constantin-backed Upgrade Productions snags Mediawan & Leonine Studios exec as series head

Caroline Kusser

US-based Upgrade Productions has hired Mediawan and Leonine Studios exec Caroline Kusser as EVP and head of series.

In her new role, Kusser will oversee the development, distribution and production of the firm’s series, working alongside Upgrade co-presidents Matt Brodlie and Jonathan Kier.

Kusser joined Mediawan and Leonine Studios in January as EVP of international co-production, in addition to taking on the additional role of EVP of world sales at Leonine Studios. During her time there, she managed and coordinated shows across more than 60 production companies.

Prior to that, she spent six years at Fremantle International as EVP of co-production & distribution and more than a decade at Red Arrow International in the US.

Former Disney+ exec Brodlie and Sierra/Affinity’s Kier launched LA-based Upgrade in October 2021 with backing from Germany’s Constantin Film and a strategic partnership with BRON. It is focused on the development and production of local language content for a global audience.

In April, the company unveiled its first three development projects – including Twenty Faces, based on the novels by Japanese mystery writer, Edogawa Ranpo, fantasy horror La Jaula and Sausages from Australian comedian Ryan Shelton.

The following month, Upgrade partnered with Japanese outfit Shochiku to produce an adaptation of Minae Mizumura’s A True Novel.

“Caroline brings a wealth of development, production and distribution experience to the role and is the ideal executive to spearhead our growing series slate,” said Brodlie and Kier.

“She has an extraordinary track record with tremendous relationships in the industry and we are delighted that she is joining Upgrade during this exciting time of growth.”

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