Hearst Magazines is readying the re-launch of Clevver — the digital brand it acquired last month following the shutdown of parent company, Defy Media, which abruptly went out of business in November under controversial circumstances.
Hearst, which is based in New York, has opened a 20,000-square-foot Los Angeles production studio for Clevver ahead of its comeback, Variety reports. Video content for other Hearst titles like Cosmopolitan and Elle will also be produced in the new studio — which is located at the Santa Monica Airport — as will original Hearst TV series like The CW’s Ready, Set, Pet and digital programming including This Is How I Made It.
Additionally, Hearst has rehired key Clevver staffers to oversee forthcoming productions — including Clevver Style senior creative director Jill Irvin Burriss — though it declined to confirm to Variety which onscreen personalities will return. Prior to Defy’s demise, Clevver’s most recognizable hosts included creator trio Lily Marston (pictured above, left), Joslyn Davis (pictured above, right), and Erin Robinson. Michael Mraz, Hearst’s VP of originals and development, will serve as head of the studio — splitting his time between New York and Los Angeles — and Clevver productions will resume in two weeks, Variety reports.
Clevver counts a total of five YouTube channels: Clevver News (4.4 million subscribers), Spanish channel Clevver TeVe (4 million subscribers), Clevver Style (3 million subscribers), Clevver TV (2.4 million subscribers), and Clevver Music (690,000 subscribers).
“The new studio — and having the Clevver teams based there — will be a game-changer for us,” Mraz told Variety in a statement. “It will enable us to be more ambitious with our development slate for Hearst Originals, learn from some of the very best of YouTube natives, and find new ways to cross pollinate ideas, talent, and brands between New York and L.A.”
Clevver isn’t the only former Defy property readying a return. Sketch comedy brand Smosh has a comeback in the works after being acquired by Rhett McLaughin and Link Neal‘s Mythical Entertainment for a reported $10 million.