Defy Media Boosts Originals Slate, Hires Former NBC, MTV Development Execs

Defy Media has 75 new shows in production and development — including a Smosh original comedy series to debut on YouTube early next year — and the digital-first media company has recruited two execs from the TV world to handle the expanded slate.

The company hired Christopher Willey, a former MTV Networks exec who most recently headed development for Conde Nast Entertainment, as VP of development; and Alex Lin, previously manager of comedy development for NBC Entertainment, as director of Development. Both report to Defy chief content officer Barry Blumberg.

“Chris and Alex are instrumental hires as we ramp up development and production to meet the increasing demand for our content as we expand our distribution with new partners in SVOD, OTT and other streaming platforms,” Blumberg said.

Defy’s production slate includes three original series set to launch on Verizon’s go90 in early 2016. In addition to Willey and Lin, the company recently hired Thao Hoang as senior VP of business development; she most recently was VP of content distribution at Viacom Media Networks.

With the strong demand for Defy’s content, “we were barely keeping up and not necessarily innovating enough,” Blumberg said, which led the company to build out its development team.

Defy currently produces about 35 weekly series, 29 of which average 500,000-plus views per episode.

New shows Defy recently put into production include:

For Go90 (more than 90 total episodes, launching early 2016):

  • “Super Fan Builds”: Hollywood prop makers surprise fans with one-of-a-kind, iconic recreations of an element from their favorite franchise;
  • “Clevver Weekly Hollywood Rundown”: A take on the week’s entertainment news and celebrity gossip; and
  • “100 Things”: Inspirational series that follows Australian world traveler Sebastian Terry as he helps others achieve goals on their “100 Things” lists.

Defy brand programming:

  • Smosh comedy series starring Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla (pictured, above) slated for early 2016
  • Smosh “Every [Blank] Ever”: Show with new cast members on ridiculous tropes and stereotypes from movies, music, tech, video games and popular culture
  • “Smosh Games Animated”: Popular Smosh Games moments that are animated by fans
  • “Cell Outs”: The Smosh Games crew looks at the latest mobile games
  • “Prank It FWD”: Season three of the “positive prank” series is slated to return for the holidays.
  • Made Man’s “Mantervention”: Hosted by Gavin McInnes (co-founder of Vice Media, “How to be a Man”), the “tough love” series premieres Oct. 23. In the show, McInnes attempts to save unwitting guys from their worst habits and bad ideas.
  • Clevver’s “Cheat Day”: Quirky hosts take a break from trying to eat healthy and try the weirdest and most indulgent foods they can find.
  • Gurl’s “Real Gurl Advice”: Interviews with real college girls giving their high-school-selves advice about dating, sex and life.

In August, Defy recently announced a deal with WME to package its slate of original projects for TV and other formats and is currently working with WME-repped RatPac Entertainment to develop several concepts.

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