How New York’s The Cut is betting big on video

New York Media’s The Cut is getting serious about video, rolling out its first original series “Face Race,” which debuted last week.

“Face Race” is part of a larger effort by New York to create more video series across its brands. Grub Street, the company’s food blog, just wrapped a limited-run series tied to its “Best of New York” pop-up blog, which highlights some of the best food in the city across different categories. Its entertainment vertical, Vulture, just debuted a series called “Broadway Charades,” which tests the music knowledge of two singers or actors. New York’s video department, which produces these series, is currently made up of 11 people.

The Cut had previously only dabbled in video, with no series or recurring formats. Instead, it would rely on one-off, social-friendly videos like “Men Try On Rompers for the First Time” and “Working Moms React to Ivanka Trump’s ‘Women Who Work,’” and the woke, like “What TV Is Getting Wrong (and Right) About Abortion.”

Hosted by the site’s senior beauty editor, Ashley Weatherford, the show pits two top makeup artists against each other in a competition to recreate iconic beauty looks — from Beyonce in “Mine” to Madonna in “Who’s That Girl” — in under seven minutes. Taking a page from campy reality shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” Weatherford sits on a gilded throne as the artists go to work, and the winners inexplicably receive an inflatable pool swan. A new episode will roll out every Friday for the next nine weeks.

“We’re excited to launch this video as the first of what will hopefully be many exciting video projects on The Cut,” said Stella Bugbee, who was just promoted to the website’s president and editor-in-chief. “Video is a big part of our strategy for the future, and the ‘Face Race’ represents the humor and originality of our site.”

video screengrab copyThe Cut’s senior editor Ashley Weatherford stars in new series “Face Race”

The series is sponsored by TNT’s upcoming show “Claws,” a dark comedy that follows a group of manicurists working in a Florida nail salon, premiering on June 11. Other than an opening ad for the show, “Face Race” episodes do not mention it. It is part of a larger marketing campaign that includes branded content on the site, a “Claws”/The Cut manicure truck activation in New York City this Friday and a TNT sponsorship of New York Magazine’s annual summer party for readers and friends of the company.

“We’re always brainstorming ideas for video, and since Ashley is a star in the making (and a big reality TV fan), we wanted to have her try a beauty series,” said Bugbee. “Given that [its new] show is about a group of manicurists, it was the perfect alignment opportunity for both sides,” she said.

The launch comes on the heels of The Cut -receiving its own URL at www.thecut.com this month, and it hints at further efforts to build out the website’s popular brand beyond its roots in fashion and beauty to become more akin to Refinery29. (The top story on the site currently is, “Texas’s Governor Just Signed a Sweeping Anti-Abortion Law.”)

The first episode of “Face Race” features two relative unknowns in the artist category, though they boast past clients like YSL and Vogue. The team could not reveal who else would be featured in the future.

the cut homepage with ad copy
The Face Race is sponsored by TNT’s new series “Claws”

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