Fox has entered a programming, marketing and distribution partnership with the WIGS YouTube channel, and revamped its programming staff in order to further support the network's various on-air and growing digital programming efforts, Fox said Tuesday.
Under the multi-year agreement with WIGS, which offers programming such as the Julia Stiles/Jeanne Tripplehorn series "Blue" and the Jennifer Beals offering "Lauren," Fox will assume a collaborative role in developing and marketing the channel, with an eye toward expanding its female viewer base and building content that can be programmed on Fox and/or other channels.
"Our overarching goal is to create an ecosystem where creative people and ideas can find expression independently in the online environment, but benefit from the resources that the larger platform of the network affords," Reilly said. "It takes unique creators and operators like Jon (Avnet) and Rodrigo (Garcia) and Jake Avnet, who not only understand the unfettered and entrepreneurial digital system, but also have a firm grasp on the mainstream – and can capitalize on both. They've spent a year building a novel production process and a vibrant alternative pipeline, and we're excited to help them take those tremendous stories and talent and develop them into long-term digital or on-air assets."
Launched last May by the Avnets and Garcia, the female-skewing WIGS has become the top YouTube channel for scripted drama, with 100,000 subscribers and more than 22 million views to date.
In addition to the WIGS partnership, Fox also said Tuesday that it's restructuring the network's programming team, in order to "foster the company's expanding programming efforts. As part of the restructuring, James Oh has been promoted from vice president, current programming to senior vice president, current programming. In his new capacity, Oh will oversee Fox's current programming team, and oversee production and creative coverage of the network's new and returning scripted series.
Shana C. Waterman has also been promoted under the restructuring, to senior vice president of the newly created event series & multi-platform programming department. Waterman, previously the network's senior vice president of current programming, will now commission and develop long-form event series for Fox, and will oversee the content for the network's new multi-platform programs, such as "Animation Domination High-Def" and a project that currently bears the working title "The Short-Com Comedy Hour." Waterman will also oversee WIGS.
The network has also hired Kiliaen Van Rensselaer as its senior vice president, multi-platform programming. Van Rensselaer, who had previously served as News Corporation's senior vice president of marketing & partnerships, digital media. While at News Corp., Van Rensselaer helped lead the strategy for digital distribution of key media categories and managed WIGS. In his new capacity, he will serve as the senior operational executive dedicated to Fox's multi-platform programming, working with Waterman and Fox chief operating officer Joe Earley to grow that portion of the company.
Reilly said that the restructuring is intended to "strengthen our core programming business and take strategic steps forward with alternative platforms to incubate talent and ideas,"