11:41am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Jordan Levin Tapped as Awesomeness CEO
Awesomeness is bringing in an industry vet at the top of its ranks.
Sources confirm that Jordan Levin has been tapped as CEO of the young-skewing multimedia company, a joint venture between Comcast’s DreamWorks Animation, Hearst Corp. and Verizon. The executive, who most recently had been serving as chief content officer of the National Football League, announced his departure from the NFL via a staff memo earlier Tuesday morning.
In his new role, which he'll begin on May 30, Levin will work alongside Awesomeness president Brett Bouttier, overseeing the company's portfolio that includes AwesomenessTV, Awesomeness Films, DreamWorksTV, Awestruck and the newly announced Awesomeness News. The hiring comes a few months after Awesomeness co-founder Brian Robbins stepped down from his post, noting at the time that Bouttier would look for a new creative partner to help him run the business.
“I’m incredibly excited to join this amazing team that Brian, Brett and [AwesomenessTV co-founder] Joe [Davola] put together and continue to grow the Awesomeness brand all around the world," Levin said in a memo sent to Awesomeness employees. "I believe Awesomeness has become one of the most relevant brands for young adults across television, film and digital because it quickly cultivated a passionate community around its singular voice and creative vision. No other outlet has empowered a new generation of creators and consumers so authentically, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
The news also comes less than a year after Comcast's NBCUniversal acquired Awesomeness' parent company DreamWorks Animation, a $3.8 billion deal that led to the departure of DWA CEO and Awesomeness champion Jeffrey Katzenberg. Awesomeness is now part of an operating unit known as DreamWorks New Media, with Verizon and Hearst remaining as minority investors.
Earlier this year, Verizon and Awesomeness announced that they were scrapping their plans to launch a streaming service, which was expected to be an HBO of sorts for shortform video. Instead, Awesomeness said it would invest those resources into producing more content for the ad-supported go90 platform.
During his two-year stint as the NFL's chief content officer, Levin oversaw NFL Network and NFL Films, along with the league's digital properties, social channels, event programming and external partnerships. Prior to his NFL role, he was a part of the founding executive team at The WB, where he oversaw shows including Dawson's Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Felicity, Smallville and Gilmore Girls.
Here's the full memo that was sent to Awesomeness staff from Universal Pictures chairman Jeff Shell:
I am delighted to let you know that Jordan Levin will be joining Awesomeness as CEO. Jordan comes to the company with an outstanding track record for successfully combining creativity and business acumen in building content platforms and programming with young adult audience appeal. On behalf of Comcast NBCUniversal and our venture partners Hearst and Verizon, it gives us great pleasure to welcome him on board.
In this new role, Jordan will work alongside Brett running the company and overseeing your incredible portfolio of brands including AwesomenessTV, Awesomeness Films, DreamWorksTV, Awestruck; as well as Awesomeness News announced last week at your successful NewFronts presentation.
Jordan and I first met working together at Disney and he has gone on to be one of the most seasoned creative executives in the industry. Brian and Joe also share a long history collaborating over the years with Jordan on developing popular franchises for young adult audiences and in true Awesomeness form, Brian told me that they couldn’t be more thrilled that he and Brett will be leading the company, saying: “We can't wait to see all the Awesomeness that is to come!!”
Jordan is currently transitioning out of his role at the NFL and will begin at Awesomeness on May 30. However, he asked that I share the following message: “I’m incredibly excited to join this amazing team that Brian, Brett and Joe put together and continue to grow the Awesomeness brand all around the world. I believe Awesomeness has become one of the most relevant brands for young adults across television, film and digital because it quickly cultivated a passionate community around its singular voice and creative vision. No other outlet has empowered a new generation of creators and consumers so authentically, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Before joining Awesomeness, Jordan spent the past two years serving as the NFL’s first Chief Content Officer, where he oversaw the league’s content portfolio across its digital properties, social channels, NFL Network, NFL Films, event programming and external partnerships. Prior to the NFL, Jordan became known for being part of the founding executive team at The WB Television Network. During his tenure there he served as CEO, and President of Programming, overseeing hit programs like “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Felicity,” “Smallville,” “Gilmore Girls,” “The Surreal Life,” and “One Tree Hill,” amongst numerous others.
In addition, Jordan also founded Generate, a pioneering cross-platform studio and talent management company that was acquired by Alloy Digital in 2011 and subsequently became Defy Media. He also served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Xbox Entertainment Studios and got his start at the Walt Disney Company as a member of the creative team that revitalized the television studio.
Please join us in welcoming Jordan. We look forward to he and Brett leading Awesomeness to even greater success.