Judy McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted Hires Chernin Group’s Billy Parks as Content Chief

Astronauts Wanted: No Experience Necessary, the millennial-targeted media joint venture between Judy McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment, has hired Billy Parks, Chernin Group’s EVP digital production and programming, as chief content officer.

Parks was the co-creator and exec producer of “@SummerBreak,” the Chernin Group’s real-time social reality show about Southern California teens sponsored by AT&T launched last year. Series is set to return for second run in mid-June, and had already enlisted McGrath as a creative and production partner.

At Astronauts Wanted, Parks will develop series and branded content aimed at young, social-savvy consumers, working with chief creative strategist Nick Shore, formerly SVP strategic insights and research at MTV.

“Billy’s talent as a creative storyteller is perfect for Astronauts Wanted as we look to engage young people in bold new ways,” said McGrath, former MTV Networks CEO. “He has a unique understanding of today’s young adults and how they consume, create and share content. Engaging this generation of content creators is our mission.”

Prior to Chernin Group, Parks was an independent producer of commercials and music videos working with brands such as Honda, P&G, NFL and Microsoft, and artists including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Prince, Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z. He also was director of new media and production at Quality Filmed Entertainment, and worked under Lucas Foster, former president of production for Bruckheimer/Simpson.

Parks was included on Variety’s Reality Impact Report 2013 list of top bizzers in the category.

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