Hartbeat, the global, multi-platform media company creating entertainment where comedy meets culture, announces that it is expanding its senior leadership team with new key hires and promotions as the company continues to accelerate IP creation and enhance its branded entertainment offerings. Former Disney and NBCUniversal executive Brian C. Price joins Hartbeat to lead its new branded content studio PULSE, and Candisse Williamson, former General Counsel at Skybound Entertainment and VP at The Madison Square Garden Company, joins to run Hartbeat’s business affairs and legal function as EVP, General Counsel. Hartbeat has also upped Mike Stein to EVP, Head of TV & Audio; and Monti Sehmi to EVP, Head of Finance and Operations.
This news comes on the heels of the recent formation of Hartbeat, which merged Kevin Hart’s two profitable entertainment entities Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Productions, and the company’s $100M capital raise to fuel its mission to keep the world laughing together. Hartbeat’s executive growth will extend across its three key divisions – Hartbeat Studios, which finances, develops and produces content; Hartbeat Media, which connects with consumers around the world through events and the company’s expansive distribution network; and PULSE, the company’s new full-service branded content and entertainment studio that serves as a creative and cultural consultancy to brands.
Brian C. Price joins Hartbeat as SVP, Head of Branded Content & Creative Partnerships overseeing the PULSE division to develop creative strategies for new and existing brand partners, and serving as a creative consultancy for brands such as Sam’s Club, Lyft, P&G, Chase Sapphire, Samsung, and more. PULSE integrates advertisers into cultural conversations through custom content and IP, comedic storytelling, experiential offerings, and creative solutions, leveraging Hartbeat’s expansive distribution network and building upon its extensive track record helping brands reach and engage new global audiences through successful programming and content. Price joins Hartbeat from The Walt Disney Company, where he led creative, business operations and strategy teams to deliver branded content and marketing solutions that earned 30 industry awards in his five years at the company. Price previously held the position of Vice President, Creative Partnerships & Innovation at NBCUniversal, and served as a member of the NBCUniversal Marketing Council.
Candisse Williamson joins Hartbeat as EVP, General Counsel, after serving as General Counsel at Skybound Entertainment, where she guided franchises including “The Walking Dead,” “Invincible,” and “Impact Winter.” As the first lawyer to join Skybound in 2018, Candisse built out a legal department to efficiently oversee and manage all strategic transactions across its various business segments including corporate, TV and film, digital content, editorial, video games, podcasts, animation, and marketing. Previously, Williamson held the position of Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs at The Madison Square Garden Company and prior to that was a corporate associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as well as at King & Spalding LLP. In her new post at Hartbeat, Williamson will be charged with building out Hartbeat’s entire legal function and leading all business and legal affairs initiatives across all divisions.
Mike Stein, previously Head of Television at HartBeat Productions, was promoted to EVP, Head of Television & Audio at Hartbeat, reporting to President & Chief Content Officer, Bryan Smiley. Smiley leads Hartbeat’s Hartbeat Studios division where Stein will be expanding his leadership role across the company’s TV and Audio content. Hartbeat Studios has several strategic, multi-year partnerships across features, TV and audio including an unscripted TV first look deal with NBCU’s Peacock, a film deal with Netflix, a partnership with SiriusXM, and a deal with Audible in partnership with Charlamagne Tha God via the joint venture SBH Productions. Since joining Hartbeat in 2020, Stein has sold series across broadcast, cable, and streaming including projects set at FX, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and more. He also produced the limited series True Story for Netflix, the revival of Real Husbands of Hollywood for BET+, and the animated pilot presentation Storytown for HBO Max. Next up is season two of Die Hart for Roku. In his new role Stein will lead the continued expansion of Hartbeat’s audio division, including LOL Radio on SiriusXM and a slate of audio originals for Audible that has already seen the release of Finding Tamika and Summer of ’85.
The company also promoted Monti Sehmi to EVP, Head of Finance and Operations, where he will continue to build and oversee strategic finance & accounting, reporting and operations at Hartbeat. Most recently, Sehmi helped spearhead the merger and integration between Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Productions, overseeing the $100M capital raise led by CEO Thai Randolph. Prior to joining HartBeat in late 2020, Sehmi served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Confirmed, LLC.
“As we continue to grow and recruit leaders to help us architect the future of comedic entertainment, these new appointments bring with them a rich and diverse set of experiences, cross-functional expertise, and entrepreneurial drive to help accelerate our efforts. Brian C. Price is a multiplatform storyteller with the creative vision and comedic sensibility to help evolve Hartbeat’s brand while serving as a thought partner to our advertising partners. Candisse Williamson brings the strategic acumen and deal-making expertise to scale our internal legal function while driving key corporate and commercial initiatives,” says Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph. “We’re also proud to continue our partnership with Mike Stein, who has played a critical role in expanding Hartbeat’s TV footprint and is now poised to apply the same level of innovation to our audio efforts. Monti Sehmi has played an integral role in helping to drive profitability and efficiency, which he will continue to do in his new post as we continue to scale the business.”
These new hires mark a milestone in Hartbeat’s continued growth as a company that offers best-in-class production and creative capabilities along with marketing, sales, experiential, branded content, digital and social expertise. Hartbeat’s footprint and global impact can be felt across streaming, digital, audio, branded content, and at the box office, with #1 debuts across every medium and an expansive distribution network through its flagship consumer brand, The LOL! Network.
Founded by Kevin Hart, HARTBEAT is the global, multi-platform media company creating entertainment at the intersection of comedy and culture with a mission to keep the world laughing together. HARTBEAT delivers comedy through its three divisions: HARTBEAT Studios, which finances, develops and produces innovative content; HARTBEAT Media, which connects with consumers around the world through events and the company’s expansive distribution network; and PULSE, the company’s branded entertainment studio that serves as a creative and cultural consultancy to brand. HARTBEAT’s flagship consumer brand, the LOL! Network, reaches audiences across its O&O social media, audio, and OTT partners.
Led by an award-winning team, HARTBEAT is a valuable partner to the biggest entertainment companies, platforms and brands in the world, driving cultural currency and generating sales, subscriptions, buzz, and conversation with some of the most coveted audiences.