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Marcus Wiley, the Fox veteran who joined Snapchat last spring, is departing after just five months as part of a shake-up within the startup’s original content unit.
Snapchat last month quietly shut down the Snap Channel on its publisher platform Discover. The channel, which refreshed every 24 hours, included original programming produced in-house at Snapchat, including short-form comedy Literally Can’t Even and talk show Pillow Talk. The Snap Channel launched in January with the introduction of Discover, which also features channels from media partners including ESPN, Vice, BuzzFeed and Comedy Central. The channel was initially used primarily to determine best practices for its publisher partners, although Wiley’s hiring signaled that Snapchat was looking to bolster its content plans with more professional content.
As part of the shutdown of the channel, most of Snapchat’s original content team will depart the company along with Wiley, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. Some employees may find new roles within the company, including Rylee Ebsen, who oversaw the development of Literally Can’t Even, starring Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn.
A Snapchat spokeswoman said in a statement: “Given that we are winding down the Snap Channel, it’s natural that Marcus would want to explore other options. He is a tremendous talent and we wish him well.”
Wiley joined the startup in May as head of program planning and development, where he was expected to lead the company’s growing slate of original content via its Discover platform. He came from Fox, where he was co-senior vp comedy development, overseeing shows including The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He left Fox in 2013 and transitioned into producing before joining Snapchat.
Insiders say that Snapchat, which claims 100 million daily active users, does not plan to give up entirely on content and could unveil new plans in the coming months.
Oct. 12 9:05 p.m. Updated to include additional details about Wiley’s departure.
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