People/Biz

Wheelhouse launches digital division, signs deal with Nikita Dragun

Brent Montgomery‘s Wheelhouse has established a new digital division, Wheelhouse DNA, to develop, produce and distribute content from creators and influencers. Concurrent with the launch, the outfit has set a 360-degree ...
February 3, 2021

Brent Montgomery‘s Wheelhouse has established a new digital division, Wheelhouse DNA, to develop, produce and distribute content from creators and influencers.

Concurrent with the launch, the outfit has set a 360-degree deal with influencer Nikita Dragun (pictured; Snap’s Nikita Unfiltered) and her management firm Slash MGMT for long-form programming, podcasts and the creation of original content for her YouTube channel.

Wheelhouse will work closely with Dragun and Slash MGMT’s production division, Slash Studios, on content development.

The DNA team will also work collaboratively with Wheelhouse’s in-house creative agency, Wheelhouse Labs.

DNA and Slash Studios will team with Wheelhouse Entertainment for long-form content and production across streaming and linear, with investment arm Wheelhouse Partners to support the talent’s business and goals.

The new division launches with deals to create original content for digital-native talent across all platforms, including YouTube, Snap, Instagram and Tik Tok, as well as long-form TV with linear networks and streamers.

Original projects are already set up at Netflix and Discovery+, and DNA programming will encompass scripted, unscripted, animation and more.

Wheelhouse chief strategy officer Ed Simpson will have oversight of the new division, while Avi Gandhi, EVP of digital, will run day-to-day operations, reporting into Simpson.

The deal with Dragun follows Wheelhouse’s Spoke Studios’ partnership with TikTok content-creator/collective Hype House, announced in August.

“As Wheelhouse has continued emerging as a destination for some of the world’s most entrepreneurial talent, we saw the need for a vehicle to help young creators move from their social onto broader streaming and premium longform platforms,”  Simpson said in a statement. “DNA will be a one-stop shop for the best talent, essentially  connecting the influencer and content worlds to each other, and to Wheelhouse’s wider production and investment capabilities, and our relationships with established, progressive brands.”

Gandhi added: “There are so many internet-born celebrities with huge fanbases, but they don’t necessarily have access to the expertise and resources needed to adapt and expand their content across the larger entertainment landscape – that’s where DNA comes in. In addition to Nikita, Dobrik, Rober and the Hype House crew, Wheelhouse’s 360 approach has attracted talent and entrepreneurs like Kevin Hart and Adam Levine. We’re proud to be producing three of the market’s first longform series with digitally native talent and we’re just getting started.”

Montgomery, who founded the company in 2018 in close partnership with Jimmy Kimmel, serves as Wheelhouse CEO.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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