Audible Names Fox Searchlight And BET Vet Zola Mashariki Head Of Studio Operations

Hussein Katz

Zola Mashariki, who spent 15 years at Fox Searchlight and also had stints at BET and Just Mercy production company One Community, has been named head of Audible Studios.

The Amazon-owned company said Mashariki will spearhead original content from conception through release. Based in LA, she will report to U.S. content chief Rachel Ghiazza, who joined Audible in 2019 and rose to her current post in 2020.

“Audible is in the business of fearlessly creating unparalleled audio experiences that showcase the best in storytelling,” Ghiazza said. “With Zola, a profoundly gifted executive, we are poised to conquer this important moment in audio—a pivotal time when creativity and originality are at a premium and we deepen our commitment to reimagine what audio experiences can mean for audiences.”

Founded in 1995 and acquired by Amazon in 2008, Audible is a leading player in the burgeoning audio sector and has a portfolio of original podcasts.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to join a best-in-class team to lead content creation, evolve our strategy, amplify original voices – both emerging and established – and deliver imaginative, immersive, and high quality audio narratives to audiences everywhere,” Mashariki said.

At Searchlight, Mashariki rose to SVP of production, overseeing projects like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Secret Life of Bees and The Last King of Scotland. As part of the acquisitions team, she also worked on Best Picture Oscar winners Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years A Slave.

In 2015, she was named head of original programming at BET/Viacom, where she led the creative team and oversaw programming for both BET and Centric Networks. She  developed and executive produced “The New Edition Story,” BET’s highest rated series in the last 10 years. Other projects included John Singleton’s series Rebel, and with Laurence Fishburne’s depiction of Nelson Mandela, Madiba.

Most recently, Mashariki was chief content officer for One Community, formerly known as Good Films. She oversaw the company’s 2019 release, Just Mercy, which starred Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.

Before focusing on film, Mashariki co-founded, with the late Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, the African Grove Institute for the Arts. An early supporter of Time’s Up, she is a founding member of ReFrame, an organization created by entertainment industry leaders to help achieve gender parity in Hollywood.

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