Susanne Daniels is exiting YouTube after nearly seven years at the Google-owned global video-sharing company. The YouTube global head of original content will depart in March.
The veteran exec, whose career has included president roles at The WB, Lifetime and MTV, helped oversee YouTube’s dive into originals in 2015, developing premium series “Cobra Kai,” which early on was a key player for the YouTube Red service (later rebranded as YouTube Premium).
“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.”
YouTube moved away from scripted and subscription-based original content in 2018, and eventually its scripted fare moved to other homes: “Cobra Kai” to Netflix, “On Becoming A God In Central Florida” to Showtime and “Step Up” to Starz.
At that point, speculation began that Daniels — whose specialty over the years has been creating generation-defining scripted series — might depart YouTube. Instead, she remained and pivoted herself to overseeing a busy slate of unscripted fare for YouTube.
Under Daniels and her team oversaw programs such as Michelle Obama’s Emmy-winning “Creators For Change,” the Emmy-nominated “Ascension with David Blaine” and Will Smith’s “Best Shape of My Life.”
Other projects include the 2020 commencement event “Dear Class” (and the 2021 sequel “Dear Earth”), the music series “Released,” livestream concerts with Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Liza Koshy’s scripted comedy “Liza On Demand.” She also developed and programmed documentaries including Demi Lovato’s “Dancing with the Devil,” Justin Bieber’s “Seasons,” “Coachella 20 Years in the Desert” and “Defying Gravity: The Story of the American Women’s Gymnastics Team.”
According to YouTube, the fourth quarter of 2021 was its most-watched quarter ever for originals, with 1.3 billion views.
“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.”
Daniels also oversaw expansion of YouTube Originals in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, India, Mexico and Brazil, developing shows with local YouTube star talent like stand-up Sofia Nino de Rivera (Mexico), finance expert Nathalia Arcuri (Brazil), actress Non (Japan), and KPOP stars Twice & BTS. She also created a slate of children’s programming including “Kid Correspondent,” “Tab Time” featuring Tabitha Brown, “Fruit Ninja” and live-action series “Lockdown.”
And Daniels helped establish the YouTube Black Voices Fund, greenlighting stories such as “Bear Witness: Take Action” and “Terms & Conditions” in the UK. She oversaw the series of specials “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.
In her earlier stints, Daniels was instrumental in the development of “Gilmore Girls,” “Felicity,” “Charmed,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Dawson’s Creek” at The WB; “Scream” and “Are You The One?” at MTV and “Army Wives” at Lifetime.
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