NEW YORK, NY, December 3, 2020 – AMC Networks today announced that it is strategically aligning its UMC streaming service and WE tv reality television network under a common leadership team, run by UMC’s former chief content officer, Brett Dismuke, who will now serve as general manager of UMC and WE tv. The move will create a powerful new programming entity delivering compelling and high-quality content to viewers on a variety of platforms including streaming, television, digital and others. Dismuke will report to Miguel Penella, president of SVOD for AMC Networks, who reports to Ed Carroll, the company’s chief operating officer.
UMC is one of the fast-growing targeted streaming services owned by AMC Networks, along with Acorn TV, Shudder and Sundance Now and the recently launched AMC+ premium streaming bundle. WE tv is a popular reality-focused network that is #1 on cable with Black women and adults on Thursday nights and is currently the #1 cable entertainment network with women in the key 18-49 and 25-54 demos on the strength of its successful Love After Lockup franchise.
Dismuke became chief content officer of UMC in January of 2019. Since he joined UMC, the streaming service has seen explosive triple-digit growth on the strength of quality shows like Double Cross, A House Divided and A Closer Look and original films like Everything But a Man and Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta. Before rejoining the company, as owner of So Chi Entertainment – which he founded in 2016 – he consulted with UMC on production, distribution and release strategy. He was previously chief operating officer of The Swirl Group, an independent production company. Earlier in his career, he was senior vice president of acquisitions, urban content for Image Entertainment, which was purchased by Robert L. Johnson in 2012 and became a key component of RLJ Entertainment, paving the way for the launch of UMC. Before working in film and television, Dismuke spent more than a decade in the music industry, focused on marketing, sales and branding after graduating from the University of Southern California.
“We have aspirations to make UMC the leading streaming service in the world serving Black viewers with compelling and high-quality content, and WE tv is already the #1 cable network with Black women and adults on Thursday and the #1 cable entertainment network with women 18-49 and 25-54 on Fridays,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks. “These are two successful businesses we believe will be even better positioned to serve viewers and take advantage of changing consumer behavior when working more closely together, under common leadership.”
“UMC is a unique and focused streaming service that has been growing rapidly on the strength of its original programming and relationships with an expanding universe of loyal subscribers,” Penella said. “Putting UMC and WE tv under a common leadership team, run by Brett, is a strategic move we believe will allow us to leverage strong programming franchises that exist on both platforms, build new ones and enhance the collaboration that is already happening between UMC and WE tv, with significant benefits to our company, our partners and, most of all, the viewers we serve and entertain.”
“The strong growth we have achieved at UMC is based on our ability to dial into the lives our subscribers are living and deliver stories and content that they care about,” Dismuke said. “The same is true of WE tv, a network that has been successful by bringing fans real and relatable shows, stories and characters. Now we have the ability to further explore the synergies that exist between these two dynamic platforms and build on the success UMC and WE tv have already achieved, with great content at the core of everything we do. We have fans watching, now it’s time to surprise them in a great way and raise the stakes. I’m so excited for this opportunity and for the great things we can do together.”
Key members of Dismuke’s leadership team will include Lauren Gellert, executive vice president of development and original programming for WE tv. Gellert joined WE tv in 2012 and has developed and managed brand-defining original series for the network, including the current Marriage Boot Camp, Growing Up Hip Hop and Love After Lockup franchises. Before joining WE tv, Gellert was vice president of production and development at ION Media Networks and previously spent many years in development and production at tru TV and VH1. She will continue to be responsible for WE tv original programming.
Nikki Love, vice president of development and original production for UMC, will continue to oversee UMC’s expanding slate of scripted originals. Since joining UMC in January 2019, she has executive produced some of UMC’s highest ranked shows such as A House Divided, Double Cross and Behind Her Faith. She was previously a successful producer and line producer who has produced festival and award-winning feature films, short films, Web series and music videos. She produced the indie film, The Last Fall, directed by now Academy Award-winner Matthew Cherry and also A Boy. A Girl. A Dream., which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Theresa Patiri, senior vice president of production and business affairs for WE tv will continue in that role and will oversee all physical production, business affairs and global program sales. Patiri joined WE tv in 2000 as a production manager and, over a successful two decades, was responsible for building the network’s business affairs, production and program budgeting and sales operations and strategy.
Sylvia George, the former general manager of UMC, is taking on a new role within the AMC Networks marketing organization, where she will be responsible for performance marketing across all of the company’s targeted streaming services. George has been general manager of UMC since 2018, after previously serving as chief marketing officer. She joined Acorn Media as a marketing manager in 1999 and served in a variety of marketing and sales related roles with increasing responsibility over the years.
UMC and WE tv have already been working together collaboratively to strategically move programming across platforms to boost viewership and better serve fans. The most recent season of the WE tv series Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition included cast confessional interviews that were exclusive to UMC and appeared moments after the conclusion of each new episode on WE tv, using both platforms to super-serve fans. UMC is the streaming home of WE tv’s iconic series Bridezillas and the UMC original Beyond the Pole also airs on WE tv, expanding the reach of the series.
About AMC Networks Inc.
AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for delivering high-quality content to audiences and a valuable platform to distributors and advertisers. The Company, which operates several of the most recognizable brands in entertainment, manages its business through two operating segments: (i) National Networks, which principally includes AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv; and AMC Studios, the Company’s television production business; and (ii) International and Other, which principally includes AMC Networks International, the Company’s international programming business; AMC Networks SVOD, the Company’s targeted subscription streaming services, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC; Levity Entertainment Group, the Company’s production services and comedy venues business; and IFC Films, the Company’s independent film distribution business. More information is available at www.amcnetworks.com
About WE tv
With compelling, can’t miss unscripted shows, WE tv’s programming is fueled by personalities and relationships filled with purpose and passion. WE tv welcomes everyone and creates an inclusive experience across all platforms: on TV, online, on demand, and social media, embracing how today’s digitally savvy, socially engaged audiences connect through content, using it as a catalyst to drive conversation and build community. WE tv is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and its sister channels include AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV.
Launched in November 2014, UMC is the first streaming service created for Black TV and film. Dedicated to highlighting Black voices across the diaspora, UMC displays fresh original series, feature films, documentaries, stage plays and other popular Black entertainment with new and exclusive content added every week. UMC is available everywhere streaming services are found – iOS, Android, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV and Apple TV Channels in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean; Roku and Roku Channels, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, Cox, DISH, Sling TV, Charter and more. At www.UMC.tv, UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year. Keep up with UMC on Facebook at Facebook.com/WatchUMC and Twitter/Instagram @WatchUMC.