Speaker Nancy Daniels
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Head of Discovery, Animal Planet, Science, TBS, TNT & truTV
Nancy Daniels is Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual, where she oversees all creative and brand strategy, development, production, multiplatform, communications, marketing and day-to-day operations for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel in the U.S. Previously Daniels was President of TLC, where she led the company's flagship female-focused channel, overseeing all aspects of the network's programming, production, development, multiplatform, communications and marketing in the U.S. Under her leadership, TLC has been a top 10 network for women with long-running hit series "Sister Wives," "90 Day Fiancé," "The Little Couple," "My 600-lb Life," "Long Lost Family" and "Outdaughtered," among many others.
In less than a year, Daniels drove Discovery as the #1 cable network for men (excluding sports), while owning 7 of the top 10 unscripted cable series. She recognizes the power of the Discovery brand and its ability authentically transport viewers with series such as “Gold Rush,” which ranked as cable’s #1 unscripted series in 2018 and Friday’s #1 show in all top demos for men.
She also has ushered in the most hours of “Shark Week” programming for the network and a supporting cast of all-star celebrities including Shaq and comedian Rob Riggle. The strategy delivered in big ways – leading the week to rank as the 4th highest-rated Shark Week on record in its 30-year run. It also had major traction across multiple platforms reaching 48 million users across Facebook and Instagram and garnered 3.5 million streams across all Discovery GO digital platforms. She has pushed Discovery as a brand that goes beyond linear – to ensure the future and make it relevant across all platforms and all demographics. Partnering with YouTube personality, Mark Rober for a “Shark Week” YouTube video proved to be a tremendous success as the video has amassed over 30M views and “Shark Week” totaled 348k social mentions throughout the week across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In April 2019, Daniels led the effort show viewers around the world what it was like to uncover an ancient Egyptian tomb, live on television in “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live.” The event made history and international headlines when explorers uncovered a 2,500-year-old mummy of a high priest live on television as well as two other mummies and a treasure trove of antiquities.
Since joining Discovery, she has delivered programming focused on mankind’s impact on the environment and solving our most pressing global problems. This included director Rory Kennedy’s “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow,” timed to the 60th anniversary of NASA. She procured the Sundance sensation “Cajun Navy” as well as the groundbreaking documentary “Why We Hate,” executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney. Nancy understands the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary lives and by highlighting diverse voices and ideas.
Another major success for Nancy was ushering in the groundbreaking nature documentary series, “Serengeti.” Nancy’s emphasis on creative storytelling helped redefine the network’s approach to the genre. Created and produced by Emmy winner Simon Fuller (“American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance”) and directed and produced by Emmy-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer (“Penguin: Spy in The Huddle”), the six-part series shows unrivaled access to one of the most pristine and unspoiled corners of Africa all narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. The series became the highest-rated nature documentary on all of television since 2013.
She is driving the network’s multiplatform strategy and creating unique content to reach an even wider audience. In 2019, Discovery partnered with YouTube phenoms MrBeast and Mark Rober to document #TeamTrees, a massive online global campaign to plant 20 million trees by 2020. Discovery hosted a “Watch and Plant” event, donating up to $100,000 to TeamTrees.org for each viewer who tuned in.
While at TLC, Daniels oversaw the return of beloved home design hit series "Trading Spaces." Beyond programming, in 2016 Daniels launched TLC's powerful brand campaign "I AM," championing empowerment and celebrating peoples' differences. She also oversaw the network's "Give a Little" national multiplatform cause-marketing campaign encouraging viewers to support organizations that help those in need. Also in 2016, Daniels proudly accepted a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program for TLC's groundbreaking series "I am Jazz," which follows the life of transgender teen, Jazz Jennings.
Daniels previously was EVP, Production & Development at Discovery Channel from 2011-2013, where she played a critical role in driving the network's record-breaking success. There she oversaw several live events - notably "Skywire Live," "American Chopper Live" and "Shark Week" companion live talk show "Shark After Dark" -- as well as popular series including "American Chopper," "Bering Sea Gold," "Fast N' Loud," "Gold Rush," the special "The Presidents' Gatekeepers," the Emmy-nominated "Deadliest Catch," "MythBusters" and "Naked and Afraid," and documentaries including "All the President's Men Revisited" and "Frozen Planet."
During her 11-year tenure with Discovery, Daniels also has served as General Manager, Discovery Fit & Health, where she managed the day-to-day operations of the network, and also as Senior Vice President, Production and Development for TLC, overseeing the launch of diverse hits including "Cake Boss," "Sister Wives," "The Little Couple," "Sarah Palin's Alaska," "The Police Women" franchise and "Four Weddings."
Daniels joined Discovery in 2007 to lead Development and Production for Discovery Studios (West Coast). Previously, she held executive positions at CBS where she served as Vice President of Alternative Series Development, working on CBS's key reality properties including "Survivor," multiple Emmy Award-winner "The Amazing Race" and "Big Brother" and has had an extensive career as a producer in the independent television community.
Nancy’s impact reaches far beyond the network. Nancy serves as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. She was matched with an at-risk young woman in the L.A. area, and was given the opportunity to expose her protégé to the professional world of entertainment. Nancy was honored by the Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles for her work as a mentor and Big Sister during the annual Accessories for Success Spring Scholarship Luncheon which raised nearly $150,000 for high school seniors and college students in need.
Nancy is also responsible for launching the public affairs initiative GIVE A LITTLE TLC and taking it to the next level. She initiated its first-ever “Give A Little Awards” to highlight the fight against bullying in partnership with Redbook Magazine and Pacers National Bullying Prevention Center. In addition, in 2016 while working with TLC, Nancy helped launch the “I AM” campaign which championed empowerment and celebrating peoples’ differences. She helped the network focus on launching shows that celebrated people’s differences in a positive way, and people wanted to tune in. She has now brought her unique vision to Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal
Speaking on: A Deep Dive Into Discovery+