Helbig, the former YouTube face of website MyDamnChannel who now hosts her own Youtube channel It’s Grace, announced the venture with production company Astronauts Wanted at Vidcon today in Anaheim during “Industry Day” of the giant fan festival. The show, #HeyUSA, will launch July 1 and will be executive produced by Billy Parks and Nick Shore of Astronauts Wanted, the online-media shingle of former MTV CEO Judy McGrath. The show has “a little bit of a traditional show” mentality in it, Parks said, but still with lots of the interactive elements that make YouTube productions so much more involving for young fans. During shooting through the summer, the two online stars will be featured about three times a week in behind-the-scenes video shorts as they visit fan-suggested sights in eight U.S. cities. The weekly shorts would typically run 2- to 5-minutes long, Parks said. Another friend and YouTube notable, Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen, is also expected to appear. This fall, the site will post eight more -finished, longer episodes pulling together all the events in each city. “It’s dizzying if you don’t love the platform,” said Parks of the complicated two-way process of creating the show. “Here’s a great way to connect with an audience if you love the way this audience works. If you create varied platform-specific content, it gets less dizzying.”
Seems there’s no way to avoid Fox News these days. Rolling Stone and New York Magazine have big stories about the network. And Fox was very much on the minds of the media elite who gathered in NYC today for the annual Mirror Awards, Syracuse University’s celebration of the year’s best reporting about the media. Eric Alterman, accepting the best commentary award for digital media, disturbed the air of industry self-congratulations by urging the audience to “stop treating Fox News as though it’s news. It’s not.” Applause was mixed with disapproving murmurs after he added that those who take Fox seriously “allow it to corrupt the news ecosystem.” The network was also central to the story that won the best single article award for traditional media, Gabriel Sherman’s “Chasing Fox” — a story for New York Magazine that examined how the News Corp-owned network has affected the journalism at CNN and MSNBC.
The most surprising winner was Milwaukee Magazine’s Mary Van de Kamp Nohl who won the best in-depth piece in traditional media. She showed how the publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel impoverished many of its employees by encouraging them to buy its stock — which lost nearly 98% of its value after the company went public in 2003. “They hired a PR director to handle me,” she said. “It’s a sad commentary on the priorities of this particular business.”
But moguls had nothing to fear at the gathering. The top honor, the Fred Dressler Achievement Award …
It’s an end of an era at MTV – after what has been years of speculation, Viacom today announced that veteran Judy McGrath is resigning from her position as Chairman and CEO of its MTV Networks. McGrath, who had been at MTV almost from the beginning, starting as a copywriter at the music channel in 1981, and was named Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks in July 2004 by then-Viacom co-president and co-COO (and McGrath mentor) Tom Freston, to whom she reported. But after the abrupt firing of Freston in 2006, there was rampant speculation that she would leave too. She ultimately made peace with the new top management, but rumors about her leaving persisted. Three years ago, she was rumored to run Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, where Freston works as an adviser. And last year, NBCUniversal’s Lauren Zalaznick explored the possibility of taking McGrath’s position before re-upping with the newly merged Comcast-NBC Universal. There will be no replacement for McGrath as Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman reportedly wanted to have direct oversight of the company’s cable divisions. Following McGrath’s departure, Doug Herzog, President, MTVN Entertainment Group; Van Toffler, President, MTVN Music & Logo Group; and Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon & MTVN Kids & Family Group, who used to report to McGrath, will report directly to Dauman. Below are McGrath’s statement and Dauman’s memo on her exit: