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Defy Media’s Barry Blumberg, Who Led Smosh Comedy Team, Is Leaving the Company

Variety logo Variety 3/7/2017 Todd Spangler
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Barry Blumberg, Defy Media’s chief content officer and the exec who led the creation and expansion of the Smosh comedy brand with YouTube stars Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, announced that he is departing the company.

Blumberg announced his exit in a memo to staff Tuesday. He plans to pursue producing projects and will continue to work with Defy through a first-look production deal.

Blumberg headed Defy’s programming strategy for brands that include Smosh, Break, Clevver, Made Man, Screen Junkies and the Escapist and was behind the creation and execution of the company’s “Prank It FWD” franchise. He joined the company with the 2013 merger of Break Media and Alloy Digital. Blumberg was executive VP at Alloy, where also continued to serve as president of Smosh, which he formed in 2006 with Hecox and Padilla.

“Barry has been a digital media visionary for over a decade, beginning with the founding of Smosh,” Defy Media president Keith Richman said in a prepared statement. “At Defy, Barry’s programming acumen was a driving force in turning the company into a leading producer of content for millennials and in helping build up our core brands into the meaningful entities that they are today.”

Prior to Defy Media, Blumberg was president of Walt Disney Television Animation, overseeing production of more than 1,000 episodes of TV shows for Disney channels and other global distribution outlets. Before Disney, he was EVP of Harvey Entertainment, where he managed media and merchandising activities for “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Richie Rich.”

Read Blumberg’s full memo announcing his departure:

Dearest Colleagues and Friends,

The time has come for me to move on from DEFY Media as your full time Chief Content Officer. Going forward, my service to the company will be as an advisor and producer and not as a day-to-day employee. DEFY is an amazing place today and our brands are well positioned for success in the evolving marketplace. I marvel at how far we have come with all of them in just a few short years, and am truly proud of the multi-platform entities that Smosh, Screen Junkies, Clevver, and AweMe have recently become.

I think back on how this adventure began for me watching Ian and Anthony lip-syncing on a nascent YouTube in 2006. It has turned into something beyond anything that I could have conceived back then. We produced movies, TV shows, live shows, OTT shows and won many awards and accolades for our content in the process. This speaks more to all of your talent than to anything that I have done myself. I was merely a conductor of our chaotic but beautiful orchestra.

I look forward to working with all of you one way or another down the road and will always be available to you for whatever you may need. I will continue to offer input to the company and will hopefully develop projects in my role as a producer that we can work on together.

Most sincerely yours,

Barry

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