Faith-Based Indie Studio the Wonder Project Adds Former Hulu, Crooked Media, Westbrook Media Execs

amazon, faith-based indie studio the wonder project adds former hulu, crooked media, westbrook media execs

Tom McAlister, Neil Varghese and Rina Yano (Courtesy of The Wonder Project)

Faith-based independent studio the Wonder Project added former Hulu and Warner Bros. executive Tom McAlister, Crooked Media executive Neil Varghese and Westbrook Media executive Rina Yano to its leadership ranks, the company announced Friday.

McAlister joined as chief marketing officer, where he will be responsible for establishing the company's brand and content marketing practices. The exec was most recently of Beck Media & Marketing, where he was president and partner, managing the agency's operations and leading campaigns for clients including Meta, National Geographic and ZipRecruiter. Before that, McAlister served as Hulu's head of content marketing, where he helped establish the service's originals brand. He also held senior roles at Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Marketing.

Varghese will serve as senior vice president of finance and corporate development. In addition to leading the studio's finance team, he will also drive acquisitions, enterprise deals and corporate business development. He previously served as Crooked Media's CFO for five years, where he helped establish a multi-year operational partnership with SiriusXM and secured a strategic investment by Soros Fund Management. Varghese has over 20 years of experience across client services, production accounting, controllership, FP&A, deal analysis, capital raises, wages and benefits, tax, strategy and operations at companies including Disney, the NFL, MTV Networks and Netflix.

Yano joined as SVP and cohead of business and legal affairs. At Westbrook, the multimedia and entertainment company founded by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Yano was responsible for business affairs, production, clearance, licensing and distribution of various TV programs, including "Fresh Prince of Bel Air Reunion" (Max), "Off the Deep End With Will Smith" (Discovery) and the Facebook Watch Original podcast "Red Table Talk" (iHeartMedia), among others.

The trio will report to the Wonder Project CEO Kelly Merryman Hoogstraten.

"At the Wonder Project, we want to entertain the world with courageous stories that inspire hope and restore faith in things worth believing in," Hoogstraten said in a statement. "I'm humbled and honored that our new company's mission has drawn such accomplished industry leaders to our cause. Tom, Neil and Rina have already made an impact on our new company, and I am so excited to welcome them."

The appointments came on the heels of the announcement for "House of David," the Wonder Project's first series being produced in a partnership with Amazon MGM Studios.

Currently filming in Greece, "House of David" tells the story of the ascent of the biblical icon, David, who eventually becomes the most famous King of Israel. Nomadic Pictures, Argonauts, Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate Television also serve as producers.

The Wonder Project is advised by shareholder and "The Chosen" creator Dallas Jenkins.

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