The Viacom-owned outlet named Dan Fierman, an architect of ESPN’s pop culture and sports site Grantland, to replace David Sirulnick, who left the outlet in March in the wake of a large restructuring at the corporate parent.
Fierman will oversee editorial strategy and operations for MTV News, and report to Colin Helms, senior vice president of digital media for MTV. At Grantland, Fierman oversaw a team that helped bring ESPN its first Emmy for documentary short films, multiple Webby nominations, and three ASME nominations in 2015. Prior to launching Grantland, Fierman oversaw culture coverage and special packages at GQ, including its annual Men of the Year and Comedy Issues. He began his career at Entertainment Weekly in 1997 as a writer, authoring more than two dozen celebrity profiles and Hollywood business cover stories for the landmark pop culture magazine.
Under Sirulnick, the unit was more focused on documentary and news efforts for TV. MTV News became known for , video looks at alcohol and drug abuse, hate music, the AIDS epidemic, gun control, and other issues of concern to young people. He supervised and produced live coverage of Woodstock ’94 and ’99; the aftermath of Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994; Snoop Dogg’s murder trial in 1996; and the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. In September, Sirulnick joined New York production company RadicalMedia as a partner and executive producer.
In 2015, MTV News is more attuned to digital and social trends. Digital efforts at MTV News, which was relaunched in 2014, reach more than 40 million monthly unique visitors, according to MTV. The unit’s efforts help drive MTV content across social media.
“Dan is a top flight talent we’ve long admired for his ability to cut through and put something fresh, unique, and smart into the cultural conversation,” said Kristin Frank, executive vice president of connected content for Viacom Music & Entertainment Group, in a prepared statement. “We’ve driven tremendous growth since relaunching MTV News a year ago and, with Dan on board, we’re in a great position to sharpen our editorial point of view and connect with even more impact.”