Additionally, HBP expands its corporate suite roster to bring on a COO, SVP of Finance & Operations and a co-CEO alongside Hart. As the company grows, the new leadership positions will help the company scale and produce content for mass global audiences.
Coming off the heels of Hart’s multi-picture feature film and first-look deal with Netflix, HBP has hired two new executives to round out the film department and promoted two employees on the TV side to senior positions.
On the film side, Patricia Braga has joined the company as HBP’s Senior Production Executive, while Wayne Horton joins as Senior Production & Development Executive. Both will report directly to HartBeat president Bryan Smiley.
HartBeat’s TV division has promoted Mike Stein to Head of Television, reporting directly to Smiley. Tiffany Brown has been promoted to Senior Creative Executive, Television, and in her new role will drive development and production on HBTV projects under Stein. Melissa Smith has also been hired as the Head of International Content Strategy and Analytics for both the film and TV departments.
On the executive level, Thai Randolph, who currently serves as president & COO of Laugh Out Loud, will extend her role to COO of HartBeat Productions. Randolph’s main focus at HBP will be to drive revenue expansion, corporate development, and strategic commercial and talent partnerships. Randolph is also bringing on Monti Sehmi as SVP Finance & Operations, who holds the same positions at LOL.
Finally, Hart has given his longtime business manager and HartBeat Productions co-founder Leland Wigington the title of co-CEO. Wigington will continue to bring his decades of comedy industry experience to help guide the company’s ethos and evolution.
With the new additions to the company, HBP intends to continue developing content from culturally diverse storytellers that resonate on a global scale. Fatherhood, which is HBP’s first feature film on Netflix, took the No. 1 spot on the streamer worldwide during its opening weekend, further solidifying the partnership between the companies. Fatherhood was recently reported by Netflix as one of the streamer’s most watched movies ever, estimated to clock 74 million viewers in its first 28 days. The comedy was released June 18.
“One of my most quoted lines is ‘Everyone wants to be famous, but no one wants to put in the work,’ but my team at HartBeat continues to be the antithesis to this line. I am so proud to be building a production company where everyone shows up daily and gives 110%. We are thriving and expanding as a result of the teamwork, vision and drive that this group of executives brings to the table every day,” Hart said.
Adds Smiley: “As we continue to build a global-first media company, I am encouraged by our ability to attract ‘best in class’ entertainment executives from the top media companies in our business today. In addition, I am proud to reward existing members of our senior executive team through well-deserved promotions and expanded job responsibilities.”
Braga comes to the company from STXFilms, where she was the Director of Production, overseeing such movies as The Gentlemen, Greenland and the upcoming comedy Queenpins.
Horton was formerly a manager on the Original Independent Film team at Netflix, where he worked across the development and production of specialized and genre films. He worked on features such as Cindy Chupack’s Otherhood, Prentice Penny’s Uncorked, Alan Yang’s Tigertail, Stefon Bristol’s See You Yesterday and the upcoming action film Kate starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Horton is committed to furthering opportunities for directors from underrepresented communities; while at Netflix, he created a short film program that served as a talent pipeline for emerging genre film directors.
Most recently, Stein spearheaded development and production on True Story (Netflix), Celebrity Game Face (E!) and the upcoming series Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew for Motor Trend.
Brown has taken the lead on behalf of HBP on To Catch a Dick (Netflix), Don’t Fuck this Up (Netflix) and Dave (FX). During the pandemic, HBP’s TV division leaned into virtual production. Celebrity Game Face for E! was shot entirely over Zoom and has already completed production on its third season; it is now broadcasted on all of the NBCU Networks as well as E! HBP also recently wrapped production on the upcoming Netflix drama True Story starring Hart and Wesley Snipes, and they partnered with MotorTrend on the upcoming series Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew which debuted on the MotorTrend app on July 2. On the comedy front, HBP produced Kevin Hart’s stand-up special Zero F**ks Given which was Netflix’s most watched comedy special last year. Immediately following, it produced London Hughes’ debut comedy special To Catch a Dick.
Smith’s role is pivotal to growing the global footprint and she will be responsible for cultivating new and fostering existing relationship with international content creators, distributors and partners with the goal of co-producing content globally. She will also run point on tracking international trends and market opportunities across all HBP departments. Smith comes to HBP from Sony Pictures, where she was VP International Distribution, responsible for theatrical distribution strategy and business operations for the motion picture group. In that role, Smith oversaw the planning, budgeting and execution of film content released in over 100 markets worldwide across Columbia Pictures, Sony Animation, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions/ Stage 6. During her tenure, she provided market-level analysis and assessment of viability to grow profitable franchises such as Jumanji, Spider-Man, Hotel Transylvania, Bad Boys and Insidious internationally.
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