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Roma Downey, MGM Unveil LightWorkers Digital Media Venture

Producer-actress Roma Downey has raised the curtain on her long-gestating LightWorkers website designed to offer uplifting and inspirational content.

The project is a joint venture with MGM, which secured Downey’s LightWorkers Media banner in 2015 as part of its acquisition of Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group.

Downey has assembled a team of about 25 staffers who are creating and curating short-form editorial and video content for the LightWorkers.com website, based out of an office in Culver City.

Downey’s goal is to offer users a respite from the tumultuous news of the day with “snackable” offerings that are unabashedly feel-good in nature. There is a spiritual element to some of the material but it is not an overtly religious venture. The content ranges from celebrity interviews — Downey used her Irish credentials to land musician Van Morrison for a rare video chat — to stories of the achievements of everyday people to socially conscious endeavors around the world.

“People are hungry for stories of hope,” Downey told Variety. “They want to engage with short-form content that is snackable and shareable. I think in the future (videos) of two to five minutes is going to be the sweet spot of storytelling.”

LightWorkers is advertising supported, with Carnival Cruise’s Fathom line signing on as charter sponsor.

Prior to the website launch this week, LightWorkers seeded the concept with a series “37 Seconds of Good News” distributed via Facebook. Those short-form vids have generated more than 21 million views to date with no promotion.

Downey and her team have been working on stocking the website with content for more than a year. They also have staffers combing the web for outside material that falls into the LightWorkers wheelhouse. Downey noted that unlike a movie or TV show, a website is a continuous work in progress.

“It’s an exciting challenge,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”

Downey’s hope is that LightWorkers will evolve into a community of users that extends beyond the website. There may be opportunities for long-form content down the road, but for now she is focused on attracting an audience with small doses of joyful material.

“I want to build a community of hope, to get people in that strong place where we can help each other,” she said. “In that sense of belonging we are reminded that we are a community. Today more than ever that’s so important.”

Here’s a sampling of LightWorkers series:

Tough But Fair with Michelle McKinney Hammond

Bestselling author and expert life and relationship coach Michelle McKinney Hammond provides a quick-talking, 45-second burst of actionable advice to live a better life, be a better friend, have more success in love and think positively through life’s challenges in this 16-episode series. Michelle is tough but fair—the motivator you never knew you always needed.

I Struggle. I Rise.

These profiles of key influencers in entertainment, sports and ministry reveal what they’ve learned from overcoming obstacles in their lives. Interview subjects include fashion blogger and model Lauren Scruggs, pastors and authors Chad and Julia Veach and boxer and WBC champion Heather Hardy. No matter how tragic the story, these mini-docs provide a feeling of hope and inspiration to viewers struggling with their own life challenges.

Giftable

Giftable is a series of thoughtful DIYs featuring Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman, two best friends who have mastered the art of gift-giving. One part cooking series and one part creative gift box inspiration, the results are what Pinterest and Instagram were made for: unique, adorable and full-of-personality presents that will make you want to be more thoughtful for the loved ones in your life.

Celebrity Interviews

You might think you know your favorite celebrity, but you’ve never seen them like this. Our interview series goes beyond the standard line of questioning, getting to the heart of what makes a person tick, from their unique perspective on life to their work ethic and everything in between.

In My Day

Everyone has something to share, but in our world where news travels at the speed of a tweet, the stories of the Baby Boomer and Silent generations are a bit more analog than what we’re used to. This series captures the insights and intelligence of regular people through compelling storytelling, ensuring that our generations and the ones still to come will have a direct line to connect with the wisdom of their elders.

Truthmark

Aaron and Viergeni White, a husband and wife youth ministry team, share their unique perspective in two-minute spoken word slam poetry performances, covering everything from happiness in the age of consumerism to the joys of parenthood.

Welcome to Brooklyn

Oregon native Brooklyn Wagner has a lot to say – about people, relationships and celebrating the small things – in this quirky, stream-of-consciousness peek inside her delightfully realistic and optimistic brain.

The Golden Rule

From inner city teens giving their time to keep their neighborhoods clean, to “volunteer cuddlers” who spend their days with babies in the NICU, this uplifting series spotlights everyday people doing extraordinary things. This is life by the Golden Rule – to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Craftitude

Do you have an attitude for crafting? Even the most DIY-phobic among us won’t be able to resist this delightfully inspiring series designed to take the guesswork out of answering the age-old question: What should I do with my kids today? Each episode shows simple step-by-step instructions for a unique hands-on craft, noting which important skills it will also teach the little ones. Craft on!

Get Read

For anyone who thinks it’s taboo to discuss religion, this thoughtful book club series will change your mind. Our diverse and passionate panel tackles tough issues from classics and new releases alike, all while pulling out the practical teachings from each of the books they’ve read. Their conversations are real – never preachy – and they’re the perfect entry point to starting your own deliberations with friends and chiming in on ours on social.

Welcome to Adulting

New York Times bestselling author, new mom and record-holding former women’s soccer player at LSU, Mo Isom gives viewers an unfiltered peek at just how messy life can be when you’re playing hard and juggling a lot of balls. She gives 2-minute snippets of her life as a speaker, blogger, wife and mom in this new series.

Office Guinea Pigs

You’ve seen it, you’ve heard about it, you’ve probably Googled it to get the real scoop… if you’re curious about a bizarre new beauty product, our office guinea pigs have done the dirty work for you. Watch, cringe, laugh, share, rinse and repeat – from bubbling face masks to charcoal toothpaste to female face shaving (yes, it’s a thing), we’ll try anything. And yes, we all actually work at LightWorkers… if you thought your office bonding rituals were weird, we’ll bet they don’t ask you to show off your blackheads to the world!

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