Carlos Watson (journalist)

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Carlos Watson
Watson in 2013
Born (1969-09-29) September 29, 1969 (age 54)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Stanford University (JD)
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, journalist, television host
Known forFounding Ozy Media

Carlos Watson (born September 29, 1969) is an American entrepreneur, journalist, and television host. A former contributor on MSNBC and anchor on CNN, he co-founded media company Ozy in 2013, and hosted several shows produced by the company.[1] As an entrepreneur, Watson co-founded Achieva College Prep Service in 2002, which he later sold to The Washington Post and Kaplan.[2] During his tenure as CEO of Ozy, the company raised over $70 million from investors.[3] Watson was the host of The Carlos Watson Show, a daily interview show on YouTube.[4]

In September 2021, Watson attracted public controversy in the wake of a New York Times article alleging that Ozy had made significant misrepresentations to investors. Following the incident, Watson resigned from the board of NPR on October 1, 2021.[5] Later that day, Ozy's board of directors announced that it was shutting the company down.[6] Watson, in an October 4 interview on Today, said that Ozy would remain in operation.[7]

On February 23, 2023, Watson was arrested on fraud charges.[8] Ozy shut down on March 1, 2023, as a result of charges against Watson and other executives.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Watson was born and raised in Miami, Florida, one of four siblings born to Jamaican parents. He was asked to leave kindergarten in 1974, but entered first grade the next year.[10][11]

Watson graduated from Harvard University.[10] He worked as Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for Florida Representative Daryl Jones, and managed Bill Clinton's 1992 Election Day effort in Miami-Dade County, Florida.[11] He subsequently attended Stanford Law School,[12] where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review and president of the Stanford Law School Student Government.[11][13]


Business career[edit]

After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1995, Watson began work at McKinsey & Company.[11] After two years at McKinsey, Watson left to co-found Achieva College Prep Service based in San Mateo, California.[11] Watson sold Achieva in 2002 to competitor Kaplan, Inc.[11][14] He later worked as the Global Head of Education Investment Banking for Goldman Sachs.

In 1997, he was a co-founder, together with Laurene Powell Jobs, of College Track.[15][16]

Journalism and television career[edit]

Watson began a television career in 2002 with guest appearances on Fox News and Court TV as a political analyst.[11] He joined CNBC in early 2003 and moved to CNN later that year.[10]

For two years, he appeared regularly as a political commentator on CNN, most notably covering the 2004 presidential election and writing's main political column.[17] Watson also hosted Meet the Faith on BET.[18]

In 2007, Watson began hosting a series of one-hour primetime interview specials on Hearst Television stations across the country called Conversations with Carlos Watson, which won a Gracie Allen award for "Outstanding Portrait/Biography Program" and an Accolade Award in 2008.[19][20][21]

Watson was named one of People's "Hottest Bachelors" in 2004,[22] as well as Extra's list of most eligible bachelors in 2008.[23]

Watson was a founder and investor in The Stimulist, a daily blog that operated from mid-to-late 2009.[24][25][26][27]

Watson became a daytime news anchor for MSNBC in March 2009. From June to September 2009, he hosted an 11:00 am newscast on the channel.[17]

In March 2016, PBS announced a new debate program, Point Taken, produced and hosted by Watson.[28]

Watson was elected to the Board of Directors of NPR in 2018.[29] On September 17, 2021, NPR announced that he was reelected to a second three-year term that would begin on November 1.[30] In the wake of allegations that he committed fraud in his role as CEO of Ozy Media, Watson resigned from the NPR board on October 1.[5]

Watson was an executive producer for Black Women OWN the Conversation for the Oprah Winfrey Network. The episode "Motherhood" won the Outstanding News Discussion and Analysis award at the 41st News & Documentary Emmy Awards in 2020. He had been booked to present the documentary awards at the 2021 awards show, but stepped down following the New York Times report about Ozy.[31]


In September 2013, Watson launched Ozy, a daily digital news and culture magazine,[32][33] with Samir Rao, a fellow Goldman Sachs alumnus.

As CEO, Watson led Ozy to raise over $70 million in fundraising from investors including Laurene Powell Jobs, Louise Rogers, Ron Conway, and others.[34] The publication expanded from a daily digital news publisher to a producer of TV shows and podcasts. Ozy had partnerships with A&E Networks,[35] iHeart Media,[36] and Live Nation.

Watson was also the host of several of Ozy's TV shows and the Ozy Fest events held in New York City.

In late September 2021, Ozy Media was the subject of a New York Times article[37] bringing attention to possibly fraudulent business practices and misrepresentations, including some attributed to Watson. Watson sent an email to all Ozy staff, and posted it to his Twitter account, referring to the Times article as a "ridiculous hitjob".[38] Five former Ozy employees reported that, as a New York article summarized, "Watson's demands, expectations, and plans were often detached from reality, yet were enforced with an intensity that some felt bordered on cruelty."[39]

Sharon Osbourne, the wife of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, alleged that Watson had falsely claimed the couple had invested in the business. She said of Watson, "This guy is the biggest shyster I have ever seen in my life".[40] Watson told NBC News's Today that he had referred to the Osbournes as investors because they received shares of Ozy stock as part of a legal settlement.[7] Osbourne told CNBC that she was repeatedly offered shares in Ozy and declined all offers.[40]

On October 1, 2021, Ozy announced that it would cease operations.[6] Watson on October 4 said that the company would remain in business.[7]

On February 8, 2023, Ozy held a 30-minute upfront presentation in New York, promoting itself to advertisers. Watson appeared at the presentation to host a live version of his eponymous talk show.[41]

Ozy announced that it was shutting down on March 1, 2023, following federal fraud charges against Watson and other executives.[9]

Arrest and charges[edit]

On February 23, 2023, Watson was arrested on fraud charges.[8] The arrest occurred shortly after Samir Rao, the co-founder and ex-chief operating officer of Ozy Media, pled guilty to fraud charges.[42] In a court document dated February 22, prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York said that Watson had "engaged in a scheme to defraud Ozy's potential investors, potential acquirers, lenders and potential lenders" by misreporting Ozy's financial results and audience metrics.[43] Watson pleaded not guilty to the charges.[44]

On his Twitter account on February 24, Watson denied wrongdoing, writing, "I am not now and never have been a 'con man.'" Watson defended his work and vowed to fight the charges “with everything I have”.[45]


  1. ^ "OZY | A Modern Media Company". OZY. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  2. ^ "Kaplan Buys Achieva and 3 Vocational Colleges". 14 January 2002. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  3. ^ Mathews, Jessica (October 7, 2021). "How Ozy Media collapsed in 6 days". Fortune. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  4. ^ Haring, Bruce (2020-07-31). "'The Carlos Watson Show' Brings Emmy-Winning OZY Cofounder To YouTube Talker". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  5. ^ a b Folenflik, David. "Ozy's Carlos Watson resigns from NPR corporate board after week of scandal". NPR. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Ben (October 1, 2021). "Ozy Media Will Shut Down". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson speaks out exclusively on TODAY". Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b Fanelli, James (23 February 2023). "WSJ News Exclusive | Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson Arrested After a Former Executive Pleads Guilty to Fraud". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  9. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (2023-03-01). "Ozy Media Shuts Down After Founder Carlos Watson Charged With Fraud, Identity Theft". Variety. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  10. ^ a b c Rothstein, Betsy (January 19, 2005). "From kindergarten delinquent to star". The Hill. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g King, Bessie (January 1, 2008). "Get to know Carlos Watson".
  12. ^ "Carlos Watson | HuffPost". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "From Silicon Valley to CNN" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 9, 2007.
  14. ^ "Achieva Project". Fromson Consulting. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008.
  15. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (29 September 2021). "Laurene Powell Jobs' Bizarre Week in the Headlines". Puck. Retrieved 5 October 2021. Powell Jobs has been close with Ozy C.E.O. Carlos Watson for decades—the two co-founded College Track, her first philanthropic initiative, back in East Palo Alto in 1997
  16. ^ King, Bessie (1 January 2008). "Get to know Carlos Watson". Blast. Retrieved 5 October 2021. College Track, a program he co-founded to aid students in East Palo Alto
  17. ^ a b Mwachiro, Mark (February 23, 2023). "Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson Has Been Arrested". Ad Week. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  18. ^ "BET's MEET THE FAITH Celebrates Mother's Day With Oprah". BET Press Room (Press release). May 12, 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  19. ^ "Carlos Watson's Show Honored at Gracie Allen Awards". McKinsey & Company, Alumni News. February 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011.
  20. ^ "Meet Carlos Watson". BET. Archived from the original on March 10, 2007.
  21. ^ "CBD Oil Wholesale Company Cleveland Ohio".
  22. ^ "#1 Hottest Bachelor - Netscape Celebrity".
  23. ^ "Conversations with Bachelor Carlos Watson". ExtraTV. May 5, 2008.
  24. ^ Business Week on The Stimulist Archived May 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "The Nation on The Stimulist".
  26. ^ "WebNewser on The Stimulist". Archived from the original on 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  27. ^ "home". Archived from the original on June 6, 2009.
  28. ^ De-Costa-Klipa, Nik (March 17, 2016). "WGBH to debut 'Point Taken,' a new late-night debate TV show taped in Boston". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  29. ^ "NPR Board Welcomes Newly Elected Directors". NPR. 12 September 2021. Archived from the original on 17 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2021. The Board has elected CEO and Co-Founder of OZY Media, Inc. Carlos Watson to a newly created Public Director position on the Board
  30. ^ "NPR Board Welcomes Newly Elected Directors". Radio Online. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  31. ^ Schneider, Michael (September 28, 2021). "Ozy CEO Carlos Watson Steps Down as Host of Documentary Emmy Awards Following Controversial Report". Variety. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  32. ^ Shontell, Alyson (September 16, 2013), "Former MSNBC Anchor Launches Ozy, A Fresh News Site With Money From Laurene Powell Jobs", Business Insider.
  33. ^ Pliska, Jessica (March 20, 2017). "The Career Path Of Carlos Watson: How To Get Out Of Line". Forbes. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  34. ^ "About OZY | When we launched OZY, we had a big idea". OZY. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  35. ^ Hayes, Dade (2020-01-09). "A+E Networks And OZY Media Sign First-Look Production Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  36. ^ "iHeartMedia And OZY Media Announce A Multiyear, Multiplatform, Creative Partnership". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  37. ^ Smith, Ben (27 September 2021). "Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media, and a $40 Million Conference Call Gone Wrong". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  38. ^ Flynn, Kerry (September 30, 2021). "18-hour days and panic attacks: Former Ozy staffers allege an abusive environment". CNN. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  39. ^ Wise, Jeff (October 1, 2021). "'It Was Weird and Culty': Carlos Watson's Mismanagement of Ozy". Intelligencer. Vox Media. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  40. ^ a b Schwartz, Brian (September 30, 2021). "Sharon Osbourne says Ozy Media founder Carlos Watson lied when he claimed the Osbournes invested in his company". CNBC. Retrieved October 1, 2021. Osbourne said she had reviewed Watson's claim after CNBC reached out to her team
  41. ^ Tani, Max (February 8, 2023). "Media company Ozy is attempting a comeback". Semafor. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  42. ^ Fischer, Sara (February 23, 2023). "Ozy CEO arrested after former exec pleads guilty to fraud". Axios. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  43. ^ Mullin, Benjamin; Robertson, Katie; Protess, Ben (February 23, 2023). "Ozy Media's Founder, Carlos Watson, Arrested on Fraud Charges". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  44. ^ BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press (February 23, 2023). "Ozy Media founder Carlos Watson denies federal fraud charges". The Hill. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  45. ^ Gans, Jared (February 24, 2023). "Ozy Media head Carlos Watson: 'I am not now and never have been a "con man"'". The Hill. Retrieved February 24, 2023.

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