Arick Wierson (Right) alongside Albert II, Prince of Monaco (Left) at the 2009 Monte-Carlo Television Festival.
November 23, 1971 |
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
|Residence||Brooklyn, New York|
|Alma mater||Georgetown University
|Occupation||Adviser to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Founder, NYC Media, Executive Producer, Channel Production Films, President, Luanda Fashion Center|
Arick Wierson (born November 23, 1971) is an American-born Emmy-award winning television and media executive. As a senior communications aide to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Wierson, along with co-founder Seth Unger, was responsible for the creation and launch of NYC TV (now known as NYC Media), a network that has been recognized as an innovator and pioneer in public broadcasting across the United States and internationally, and is credited with spurring the revolution in hyperlocal non-news format programming in the broadcasting world. Wierson was described as "one of the most important people in New York media" by the television industry's weekly "Bible", Broadcasting & Cable magazine. During his tenure at NYC Media, Wierson led the flagship NYC TV station to 160 Emmy nominations, while personally being nominated on 29 different occasions for the role of Executive Producer in the creation of various programs. To date he has won five Emmy awards for his role as the Executive Producer of the nationally syndicated Secrets of New York as well one Emmy for his role as Executive Producer of the feature documentary film "Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace" which featured former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary-General of the U.N. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State and CNN's Wolf Blitzer, among other notables. The film deals with the 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt and the unlikely circumstances and behind-the scenes jockeying that led to its coming to fruition.
In 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Wierson was returning to the private sector. Since then, Wierson has been credited as a major force behind the creation of the first private television station in Angola, TV Zimbo, and the establishment of Luanda Fashion Center, the largest department store in Angola.
Wierson grew up in Excelsior, Minnesota and attended part of his high school years in the Middle East. He graduated from Minnetonka High School (1990), later graduating cum laude from Georgetown University (1994) with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Foreign Service. In 1997, Wierson, was named an International Rotary Scholar representing the State of Minnesota, which he used to receive his master's degree in Economics from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). Wierson's career began as an investment banker, working for the World Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, and JP Morgan.
In 2001, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg recruited Wierson to aid him in his first bid to become the 108th Mayor of New York City. During the campaign, Wierson oversaw field operations which combined traditional electioneering and voter profiling databases, which political analysts point to as the campaign that ushered in a new era technically sophisticated, statistical, voter profiling for political operation in the country. Wierson is known to be close to maverick political strategist Bill Hillsman, who has asked Wierson to lecture in his courses at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University on several occasions. In June 2010, Brazilian Vice Presidential candidate and Federal Deputy Antônio Pedro de Siqueira Indio da Costa (Democratas (Brasil)) invited Wierson to advise him and Presidential candidate José Serra on media and political matters during the final months of the campaign before the October election. Wierson is said to have declined the invitation due to "ongoing engagements in Angola."
Media & Television
Broadcasting & Cable Magazine has described Wierson as "one of the most important people in New York media". Under Wierson, NYC TV expanded from a local cable operation to a broad array of broadcast, cable, production, online video and syndication entities, organized under the name of NYC Media Group. At his time at NYC TV, Wierson led the network to 42 NY Emmy Awards and over 100 National Telly Cable Awards. In addition to Secrets of New York, Wierson played a role in the creation of many of the network's original series' productions including $9.99, Eat Out NY, New York 360*, and The Bridge. In 2008, Wierson led NYC TV's digital media group to its first-ever Webby nominations.
At NYC Media Group (since rebranded as NYC Media), Wierson was vocal critic of traditional public broadcasting for second-tier stations in heavily saturated markets like New York City. In 2005, Wierson disbanded the station’s long-held PBS status, enabling NYC TV's original shows to take over prime-time "It was smart not to be the 'fifth channel,' said Dalton Delan, executive vice president of WETA in Washington and producer of the PBS News Hour. You don't want to be the triple-A team. You want to find a new ballpark where you can be No. 1." In August 2006, Wierson, Unger and Bloomberg appeared in the NBC studios, joined WNBC General Manager Francis X. Comerford and former NBC Station Group President Jay Ireland in announcing a partnership between NYC TV and NBC flagship station WNBC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who began Bloomberg Television as part of his media empire, knew better than most the value of a city television station, his aides said."
In addition to the TV business, Wierson also led a complete overhaul of WNYE-FM 91.5FM, with new formats for morning and afternoon drive-time programming, re-branding itself as "Radio New York" and in partnership with live coast-to-coast music feeds from Seattle-based alternative rock station KEXP. The announcement was seen as an aggressive move by the New York City Indie music community, causing broadcaster WFUV to take public on-air swipes at Wierson for having encroached on their market. On March 5, 2009, Wierson, along with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that WNYE, after being in Brooklyn since 1938, was moving its radio broadcast operations to Manhattan, and was unveiling a new digital transmitter, capable of transmitting multiple in-band HD radio streams.
Over the years that Wierson was at the helm of New York City's media assets, he was known to spar with several public officials who were critical of the Bloomberg Administration. New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who at the time represented Manhattan's Upper West Side on the City Council and had oversight over telecommunications and technology (she is now the Manhattan Borough President), regularly criticized the Bloomberg media media and communications operation as being “too flashy” with its focus on fashion, celebrity, and other topics she viewed as inconsistent with the mission of the network. Wierson countered Brewer in sworn Council testimony that “television is meant to be watched.”
While at NYC Media, Wierson also taught as an adjunct professor of business at the MBA program at Metropolitan College of New York (formerly known as Audrey Cohen College) lecturing on the business of media and television.
In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg announced Wierson was stepping down as President of NYC Media Group, saying "Over the past seven years, Arick Wierson and his team transformed NYC TV into one of the nation’s best television stations. After helping build the station virtually from scratch, Arick oversaw the merger of NYC TV with WNYE-TV and WNYE-FM, creating the largest local media group in New York that now reaches hundreds of thousands of people every day. NYC TV’s 160 New York Emmy nominations and 42 awards serve as a testament to Arick’s vision, tenacity, and leadership and to the excellence of the media group he was instrumental in creating. I have no doubt that Arick’s entrepreneurial and creative talents, which helped him achieve great things at NYC TV will serve him well as he rejoins the private sector..." The New York Times revealed that Wierson had been quietly producing a documentary film starring former U.S. President Jimmy Carter "Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace" which later opened in Monte-Carlo and Abu Dhabi.
Luanda Fashion Center
In 2011, it was reported that Wierson was leading an effort to open the first large-scale modern department store in Angola to be called Luanda Fashion Center. Luanda Fashion Center was acquired by the Brazilian retailer, Morena Rosa Group in 2014.
Wierson is married to Fabiana Mesquita-Wierson, a former executive at Bloomberg, LP. They have one daughter.
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- pt:Morena Rosa Group
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