Rebecca Glashow, Shelley Zimmerman to Lead Viacom's Awesomeness (Exclusive)
The appointment comes one month after CEO Jordan Levin left the company and Viacom cut nearly 100 jobs.
Viacom is installing new leaders atop digital studio Awesomeness.
The media conglomerate has tapped Awesomeness executives Rebecca Glashow and Shelley Zimmerman for an expanded role at the company behind To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Foursome.
The women have been named co-heads of Awesomeness, reporting to Viacom Digital Studios president Kelly Day. Their appointment comes a month after Viacom cut about 100 jobs at Awesomeness and said goodbye to CEO Jordan Levin, who had announced he would leave the company after its sale to Viacom in July.
In their new roles, Glashow and Zimmerman will oversee the Awesomeness studio, social media, marketing, production, programming and distribution. Glashow will lead the company from New York, where Viacom is headquartered, while Zimmerman will be based out of Awesomeness' main offices in Los Angeles.
A Discovery Communications veteran, Glashow joined Awesomeness in 2016 to lead worldwide distribution and reported to Day, who jumped to Viacom in November of last year. Her role eventually expanded to chief strategy and distribution officer. Zimmerman, meanwhile, came to Awesomeness from Warner Horizon in late 2015. The move gave her oversight of the Awesomeness television studio.
"Rebecca and Shelley continue to be a driving force at the heart of Awesomeness," said Day. "I've had the pleasure of working with Rebecca and Shelley for years. Their contributions have been instrumental in the company's success, and they have a distinct ability to grow and leverage the brand with the strength of their combined creative and operational expertise and leadership."
Founded by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola during the boom of original channels on YouTube, teen-skewed Awesomeness sold to DreamWorks Animation in 2013 and began to focus on producing original programming for digital and traditional distribution. Later, Hearst and Verizon both bought into the business. When DWA sold to NBCUniversal in 2016, Awesomeness became a division of Universal. This summer, the three owners decided to sell Awesomeness to Viacom in a deal valued at less than $100 million, per insiders.
Following the sale, Viacom said that it would lay off some of the staff as it absorbed the business into its Digital Studios group. A filing with the Employment Development Department revealed that about half the staff, or 98 employees, would be let go. Though the cuts occurred across the company, duplicative positions in legal, finance and human resources were said to be the focus.
Glashow and Zimmerman have been given the mandate to concentrate on creating digital programming that is distributed outside of linear television, a bigger focus for Viacom as its network of cable properties sees declining ratings amid cord-cutting. Under their guidance, Awesomeness will invest in its studio business and develop content for its social channels with an eye toward scripted series for teen girls and young adults. This strategy is surely informed by the buzz for its Netflix teen rom-com, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which helped to mint the fame of its young stars, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo. The company also has prepped the launch of teen thriller Light as a Feather on Hulu, its third series project for the streamer.
"Awesomeness has built a tremendous digital-first youth brand for an engaged mobile audience across our social channels," Glashow and Zimmerman said in a joint statement. "We will continue to serve our passionate audience with short-form social video and will invest in the growth of our TV studio, making original series for young adults around the globe. We are thrilled to be part of VDS and to lead Awesomeness forward with the support and resources of the Viacom family."