×

Cable Veteran Jana Bennett Joins Ozy Media to Expand TV, Podcasts (EXCLUSIVE)

History and TLC alum Jana Bennett has signed on with Ozy Media to help the Silicon Valley-based digital content firm expand its TV production and podcast operations.

Bennett joins as senior adviser with a mandate to expand the 5-year-old company’s original content operations. The company, co-founded in 2013 by former CNN and MSNBC anchor Carlos Watson, produces programming for its own digital platforms as well as supplying series to outside buyers.

Ozy Media has produced factual and talk show programs for PBS, BBC, Amazon and Facebook and has a half-dozen more in development. The company’s focus is on highlighting “the new and the next” in arts, politics, pop culture and other arenas. The Ozy Media moniker was inspired by the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Bennett is a veteran cable programmer who launched the FYI lifestyle channel for A+E Networks in 2014. She advanced to president and g.m. of A+E’s History in 2015 before exiting the company in May 2017, saying she wanted to split her time between New York and her native Britain. Bennett’s career has also included stints as a journalist, producer and senior programming executive for BBC.

“We have seen our television and podcast businesses explode in the past year,” said Watson, who is CEO. “Ozy’s creativity knows no bounds. The industry has responded extremely well to our wide range of content and the high production quality. Jana is precisely the type of leader who can build on Ozy’s ’s early success in TV and podcasts thus far, and help us reach new heights.”

Bennett said she was drawn to Ozy’s “distinctive voice in news, TV and digital media” and to Watson and his team. Ozy Media’s investors include Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective and German publisher Axel Springer. The company said it has 50 million monthly unique users and 5 million subscribers. It’s also branching out into hosting its own artsy festivals and other live events.

“Ozy is a brand that has so many attractive projects in the pipeline, great journalism you can trust and a young, savvy, loyal audience who follows Ozy across all media and live events,” Bennett said. “This is the time to be part of the Ozy story.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content