YouTube Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels has resigned after over six years, during which she built the original content division of the company. Her last day will be March 1. YouTube Originals is coming off Q4 2021 as its most-watched quarter ever with 1.3 billion views.
Daniels, a respected veteran TV executive, joined YouTube Originals in 2015 when the video-sharing giant had announced the launch of a premium subscription tier with high-end original scripted programming. She developed and launched such series as Cobra Kai, which set YouTube viewership records before moving to Netflix and earning Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, Step Up (now on Starz), On Becoming A God In Central Florida (moved to Showtime) Wayne (available on Prime Video) and Impulse from Doug Liman.
In 2018, the Google-owned streamer pivoted away from scripted and SVOD to focus on unscripted content under their core AVOD model. Daniels, who had started her career in unscripted at NBC decades ago, shepherded the transition with such projects as Michelle Obama’s Emmy-winning Creators For Change, Will Smith’s Best Shape of My Life, and the Emmy-nominated Ascension with David Blaine.
Other notable launches under Daniels include the star-studded Emmy winning commencement event Dear Class (and the 2021 sequel Dear Earth), the music series Released (which reunited her with former MTV boss Van Toffler), livestream concerts with Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Liza Koshy’s scripted comedy Liza On Demand. In addition, the documentaries she developed and programmed (including Demi Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil, Justin Bieber’s Seasons, Coachella 20 Years in the Desert, Defying Gravity: the story of the American Women’s Gymnastics Team, and Creators for Change with Michelle Obama) reached hundreds of millions of viewers and garnered multiple awards.
“Susanne championed both of my documentaries, supporting my personal vision every step of the process,” Lovato said. “It was evident to me from the day we started working together that she cared as much as I did to make sure we were going to fearlessly approach projects in a way that was both sensitive and compelling.”
Daniels was instrumental in overseeing the expansion of the YouTube’s Originals’ footprint globally–targeting the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, India, Mexico & Brazil, where she developed breakthrough shows featuring local YouTube star talent like stand-up Sofia Nino de Rivera (Mexico), finance expert Nathalia Arcuri (Brazil), actress Non (Japan), as well as KPOP sensations Twice & BTS. Her shows have been at the top of the YouTube trending tab in over 100 countries.
Throughout her tenure, Daniels also launched and oversaw an original slate of children’s programming including Kid Correspondent, Tab Time featuring Tabitha Brown and the Emmy-winning series Fruit Ninja and live action series Lockdown which won the Prix-Jeunesse award.
Daniels was one of the key architects behind establishing the YouTube Black Voices Fund, continuing her long standing commitment to highlighting under-represented voices. Upon the launch of the BVF, Daniels greenlit such projects as the Emmy-nominated franchise Bear Witness:Take Action and Terms & Conditions in the UK. Daniels most recently oversaw a series of specials entitled Recipe for Change, the first of which highlighted Asian-American culture, food and family and the upcoming second special explores Jewish culture and anti-semitism.
“Susanne has been instrumental in establishing YouTube Originals as an integral and impactful aspect of our platform,” Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said. “I cannot overstate her division’s overwhelmingly positive impact on YouTube’s eco-system. Her shows engaged YouTube creators and delighted YouTube audiences across the globe, and we are grateful to Susanne for her invaluable leadership over the past seven years.
Earlier in her career, Daniels became the second female head of a broadcast network when she was named President of The WB. She served as President of Lifetime Television Networks as well as President of MTV Networks. She has developed such popular female and teen driven content as The Gilmore Girls, Felicity, Charmed, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, Scream, Are You The One? and Army Wives.
“YouTube’s the biggest and best video platform in the world and what an exciting and tremendous experience I’ve had working to create meaningful programming for global users of all ages and backgrounds,” Daniels said. “I’m so proud that our YTO content could contribute to the ongoing growth and success of this remarkable platform, and I look forward to new adventures ahead.”
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