Free online-video network Pluto TV has hired Robert Magdlen, former SVP of program strategy and acquisitions for NBCUniversal’s E!, as chief programming officer.
At E!, Magdlen was part of the team that launched the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” reality TV series and Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” talk show. He oversaw programming strategies behind E!’s forays into scripted with “The Royals”; reality TV series including “Total Divas”; and other series including “The Soup” and “Fashion Police.” In addition, he was the executive in charge of production for E! News Specials. After leaving in E! in 2015, Magdlen was an independent media consultant.
At Pluto TV, in the newly created role of chief programming officer, Magdlen will be responsible for programming and channel development. He will be based out of the company’s L.A. headquarters, reporting directly to Pluto TV co-founder and CEO Tom Ryan.
“Having built successful TV networks, Robert is the perfect person to lead our programming initiatives,” Ryan said in a statement. “Pluto TV is about connecting viewers with both familiar and unexpected content and I cannot wait for our viewers to see what he and the team have in store for them.”
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Pluto TV’s free, over-the-top TV-like service provides more than 100 channels in partnership with TV networks, movie studios, publishers and digital media companies. Magdlen is tasked with managing the platform’s programming strategy across all Pluto TV services, including curated channels like “The Feed,” “Hive,” “What?!,” “Funny AF,” “Man Up,” and “Internet Gold,” as well as identifying new programming opportunities.
“When you look at where television is headed, Pluto TV is the most convincing vision for the future of TV,” Magdlen commented. “Everyone at Pluto TV is incredibly determined to change TV and I’m very excited to lead a team at the intersection of technology and entertainment.”
Before joining E!, Magdlen worked in production for TNT in Los Angeles after starting his entertainment career at Turner Entertainment’s Atlanta headquarters working with Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT, TCM and Turner Sports.
Pluto TV last fall announced $30 million in Series B funding, led by German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 with participation from Scripps Networks Interactive, Sallfort PrivatBank and others. As part of the investment, the company acquired Quazer, an OTT video startup focused on non-fiction programming serving German-speaking markets, from ProSiebenSat.1.
Other Pluto TV investors include USVP, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Terry Semel’s Windsor Media and UTA.