Legendary Entertainment has acquired Nerdist Industries, the Chris Hardwick-founded content company with properties that include a popular podcast network, website and YouTube channel.
Legendary Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull was an early investor in Nerdist, which is run by CEO Peter Levin. Levin launched pop culture newsletter GeekChicDaily in 2009 with signifcant help from Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber. It merged with Nerdist last year.
“We've been impressed with how Chris and Peter have harnessed the Nerdist platform to create and deliver high-quality, relevant content, and then develop one-on-one relationships with the fans we see as Legendary's core psychographic,” Tull said in a statement.
Hardwick and Levin will stay on at Nerdist and become co-presidents of the digital business for Legendary, which has a production and financing deal with Warner Bros. Through that deal, Legendary has had a hand in franchises such as "The Hangover" and Christopher Nolan's "Batman" films.
Hardwick, host of "The Nerdist Podcast," will oversee digital content. The comedian and former host of MTV's "Singled Out" tends to focus on shows and movies with ravenous fan bases, such as "Breaking Bad" and "Walking Dead." He ends each podcast with the sign-off, "Enjoy your burrito."
Levin will handle digital strategy.
Nerdist will maintain its editorial and operational autonomy while using Legendary’s greater resources to build out its fanboy-centric content.
“This amazing deal allows Nerdist to not only scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined, but also to extend into film and television while symbiotically supporting Legendary’s digital strategies,” Hardwick said in a statement. “Legendary’s ‘let's just make stuff that we really want to see exist in the world,’ philosophy is exactly aligned with ours."
The deal comes on the eve of Comic Con, the epicenter of fanboydom in the United States. Both Legendary and Nerdist will have a presence there, as Legendary previews upcoming films like “Pacific Rim” and "Man of Steel." Hardwick will serve as a moderator for BBC's "Doctor Who."
It appears the deal was going to be announced in San Diego, but Deadline broke the news early.