*In an effort to revitalize AOL since he took over as CEO two years ago, Tim Armstrong is recruiting an army of Hollywood heavyweights. His latest acquisition: Queen Latifah, as the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Starting this spring, she will produce and star in AOL web series about sports, entertainment and entrepreneurialism, which will be overseen by Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post.
“It’s great having a company that’s supportive of doing the same kinds of things and looking to the future, as opposed to trying to hold on to how things were in the past,” Latifah tells THR.
One project Latifah is eyeing in particular is a sports-themed talk show for women. Her production company Flavor Unit will produce the shows and she promised to have a regular role in at least the first three projects.
“I’m kind of the Barbara Walters,” she added. “I’ll definitely float in and out.”
In return for her efforts, Latifah will benefit from the larger reach (15 million visitors head to AOL’s homepage daily) as well as the marketing push and creative flexibility the company offers.
Over the past eight months, Armstrong has scored several similar contents deals with everyone from Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, and the Jonas Brothers to Mark Burnett and Ben Silverman.
“The first phase of the Internet was about access, and I believe AOL was the biggest player in that phase. Then the next phase has really been about the platform, so you’ve seen Apple, Google and Facebook there,” Armstrong explains. “But the phase after this is going to be more of the Hollywood phase, where it’s about content, creativity and really putting a human face on the Internet.”