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Hearst Hires Nickelodeon Exec Zuri Rice to Head Originals (EXCLUSIVE)

Former Defy Media exec Todd Joyce joins as VP of video sales

Hearst Magazines has tapped a new head of original video: Zuri Rice, a 14-year veteran of Viacom who most recently led short-form originals at Nickelodeon.

Rice joins the company as senior VP, head of video development and content strategy for Hearst Originals. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the creative direction of the company’s slate of scripted and unscripted editorial series across all platforms and spanning brands including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Men’s Health and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Rice officially starts at Hearst on Tuesday (June 11), reporting to Hearst Magazines president Troy Young and working working closely with chief content officer Kate Lewis. Hearst Magazines’ previous head of editorial video was Anna Jimenez Lyle, who left the company last fall.

In addition, Hearst has hired Todd Joyce as VP of video sales for Hearst Originals, responsible for pre-roll and sponsorship sales for editorially produced video across the company’s brands. He started at Hearst last week. He was previously senior VP of East Coast sales for Defy Media, which shut down last fall after failing to find a buyer. Hearst acquired Defy Media’s Clevver lifestyle brand and relaunched Clevver News and Clevver Style on YouTube this spring.

At Viacom, Rice most recently was Nickelodeon’s senior VP of short-form video leading production and development of premium video content for the cable channel’s YouTube and social-media platforms. Previously, she oversaw scripted and unscripted long-form shows as part of the Nickelodeon East Coast development and current series team. Rice also has served as a creative consultant for Savannah Media and produced and developed multiple shows for VH1.

“Zuri’s knowledge of culture and ability to create and produce hit series — an art she mastered during her time at Viacom — will enable us to be even more ambitious with our original video production, reaching our millions of passionate viewers wherever they are,” Hearst Magazines President Troy Young said in a statement.

Rice commented, “I’ve spent more than a decade leading teams and working with talent to create and produce must-see shows on every platform. I’m excited to work with the iconic brands at Hearst Magazines to grow their sizable video footprint with new offerings that engage and delight audiences in an even deeper way.”

Hearst Magazines has more than 50 original series currently in production, and the company says its video content generates an average of 1 billion views each month. The lineup of episodic digital series include Cosmopolitan’s “Beat Your Superfan,” Elle’s “Song Association,” Harpers Bazaar’s “Go to Bed With Me,” Men’s Health’s “Gym & Fridge,” O, The Oprah Magazine’s “The OG Chronicles,” and Delish’s “Iconic Eats.”

Hearst also operates YouTube channels Clevver News and Clevver Style out of a 20,000-square-foot studio at the Santa Monica Airport.

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