Vanegas-Gesuale takes over for Lauren Dolgen, who last month exited as head of BuzzFeed Studios after a year to join Paramount Network.
“Cindy and the BuzzFeed Studios team will continue to move the current slate forward while aggressively adding in new projects across the company,” CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a memo to staff announcing the change.
As Peretti has articulated before, the strategy for BuzzFeed Studios is to concentrate on developing “post-TV” programming that takes advantage of internet platforms. “We don’t make shitty TV, we make good internet,” he wrote in a March memo.
Vanegas-Gesuale already has overseen BuzzFeed’s “AM to DM” daily morning talk show on Twitter and was an executive producer on BuzzFeed News docu-series “Follow This” for Netflix.
Prior to joining BuzzFeed in April 2017, Vanegas-Gesuale was showrunner for “We the Voters” at Show of Force, a special series for the 2016 election, and prior to that was a producer at Huffington Post and Fox Business Network.
Separately, this week BuzzFeed announced that it hired Shari Cleary, who previously headed Comedy Central’s research team, as senior VP of research and insights.
BuzzFeed in January announced it was laying off 15% of its workforce earlier this year in a bid to boost profitability. In the March memo, Peretti wrote that he’s bullish on the company’s growth prospects, with a strategy of diversifying revenue streams — including working with influencers and striking deals to integrate advertisers into original series and news programming. He also put an emphasis on BuzzFeed working with platforms like Facebook and YouTube to make content distribution “financially sustainable.”
BuzzFeed Studios projects include an upcoming series for Snapchat called “BTW,” a trending celebrity/entertainment show, and several shows on Facebook Watch, including interactive trivia game show “Outside Your Bubble” and interview series “Profile by BuzzFeed News.” Facebook’s first animated series, “The Good Advice Cupcake” starring BuzzFeed’s Instagram character Cuppy, premieres this summer; and “Mi Quinceañera Come True” starring BuzzFeed’s Pero Like team is slated to premiere on Facebook Watch in the fall.
Movie projects include “Brother Orange,” in development with Warner Bros. with Jim Parsons to star and Ellen Degeneres and Ilana Glazer producing; an adaptation of a viral ghost story by BuzzFeed’s Adam Ellis with New Line Cinema and Dan Lin’s Rideback called “Dear David” (working title); and “From Russia With Blood,” a film with George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures based on a BuzzFeed News investigation.