BuzzFeed Studios Taps Former MTV Exec Paul Ricci to Lead Unscripted Programming

BuzzFeed Studios has hired Paul Ricci, formerly the head of alternative programming and development for MTV and VH1, to lead unscripted TV.

Reporting up to BuzzFeed Studios head Richard Alan Reid, Ricci will oversee unscripted projects across BuzzFeed Inc.’s brands, which include BuzzFeed, Complex, Tasty and HuffPost. Scripted projects will continue to be led by Charlotte Simms, BuzzFeed’s director of development for scripted TV.

Ricci comes to BuzzFeed after spending more than a decade at Paramount Global, then called Viacom, as a producer and executive at MTV and VH1 overseeing alternative series like Rob Dyrdek’s Ridiculousness and Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. Prior to that role, Ricci led development and programming for MTV2, launching shows like Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’n Out, Guy Code and Girl Code.

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Most recently, the executive co-founded the development company BoomTown Content Co., which is also entering a development deal with BuzzFeed Studios for a slate of unscripted TV projects. The company will continue to be led by co-founder Mark Efman.

“Paul brings a wealth of knowledge from his days in network television and hands-on experience producing hits. Paul’s keen eye for innovative formats and a deep understanding of youth culture and trends, make him an incredible creative partner who will drive our unscripted portfolio — from BuzzFeed to Complex — to new heights,” Reid, evp global content and head of BuzzFeed Studios, said in a statement. “We’re delighted to have him on the growing BuzzFeed Studios team.” 

Past unscripted projects from BuzzFeed Studios include The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe for Discovery+, Hot Ones: The Game Show for TruTv and Snoop & Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween for Peacock. The studio is also in development for a slate of unscripted series on TV and streaming for NBCUniversal.

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“I was immediately impressed by the drive and ambition of Rich and the entire BuzzFeed Studios team,” Ricci said. “I can’t wait to tap into the treasure trove of IP within the world of BuzzFeed, Inc. to tell bold, new stories that will delight their diverse, global audience.”

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