Pharrell To Join Karmaloop TV

Rapper/producer Pharrell Williams will join upstart network Karmaloop TV as the youth-culture targeted service's creative director for new programming.

Williams, who has worked with and produced hits for such artists as Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, will also take a "significant" equity position in the network, headed up by former AMC and Lionsgate programming executive Katie McEnroe. The network, which will target multicultural, 18-to-34-year-old "verge culture" viewers interested in underground and trendsetting fashion, music, film, art, dance, lifestyle and entertainment, is expected to launch later this year.

"Pharrell is, without a doubt, one of the most influential cultural creatives and business minds in America today," states Greg Selkoe, CEO of Karmaloop TV in a statement. "We're delighted and honored that he has joined our effort to create a multi-platform brand that will once again excite cutting edge youth culture about TV, just as MTV did in the 1980s."

Williams, who is also the lead singer for rap/rock group N.E.R.D, added in a statement that that Karmaloop TV "will once again give intelligent and creative youth culture a voice and a TV entertainment brand they can call their own, something that has been missing for a long time now. Progressive youth culture is hungry for different content than what is out there now - they are currently massively underserved."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.