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Reese Witherspoon, Chernin JV form content firm

Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon has created a female-focused content company, tapping the COO of a content recommendation that Hulu recently acquired to run the prodco.

Reese Witherspoon

Witherspoon has hooked up with Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group, to create Hello Sunshine, which is billed as a “cross-brand and consumer-facing content company whose ethos will be grounded in a devotion to, and passion for, telling female-driven stories”.

From launch in 2017, Hello Sunshine will operate as a division of Otter, which owns multichannel network Fullscreen, OTT company Ellation, and backs Van Toffler’s new company, Gunpowder and Sky. Kerry Tucker has been named as CEO of the company, and will oversee all operations and strategy.

She was most recently COO of The Video Genome Project, which subscription VOD service Hulu acquired this month, and her previous roles include an executive VP post at Victoria’s Secret, and head of marketing at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Chernin Group founder Peter Chernin once tried to buy Hulu for US$500 million, having helped establish the US broadcaster-backed service in 2007 while president and COO of News Corp.

Witherspoon, who is known for films such as Legally Blonde and Walk the Line, already owns a production company, Pacific Standard, which has produced features such as Gone Girl and Wild.

Witherspoon recently became ths sole owner of Pacific Standard, after splitting with her production partner, Bruna Papandrea, in September. Pacific Standard will be “an integral part of the new company”, Witherspoon and Otter president Sarah Harden said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Peter Chernin and AT&T on this exciting new company,” said Witherspoon. “My lifelong passion has been to tell women’s stories with authenticity and humour. This partnership will allow me to reach a greater audience that is eager for more female driven content.”

“Reese has been a force in empowering women to create and innovate, and has led by example both through the characters she portrays on screen, and by her efforts as a producer and storyteller,” said Chernin, CEO of The Chernin Group. We are proud to join forces with her to introduce Hello Sunshine as a distinctive, versatile platform for women today.”

Seth Rodsky, a co-founder of Strand Equity Partners, has partnered with Witherspoon on her investment, and will take a place on the Hello Sunshine board.