Axios Forays Into Video Products (Again) With Celebrity Collaborations

Shaquille O'Neal, Chrissy Teigen and Tom Brady are all working with Axios on video projects.

Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal’s production company Jersey Legends will be producing a docuseries with Axios. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Business and tech news startup Axios is getting back into the streaming game again. Axios announced last Friday (Jan. 26) it’s launching a new division called Axios Entertainment, where it will develop and produce nonfiction programming, in both series and films. The move is a “natural next step” for the company according to its CEO Jim Vandehei. Its first video project is being done in partnership with Amazon (AMZN) and will stream on Prime Video. 

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The new entertainment division will be led by Axio’s head of development, Erica Winograd, who has developed video programming for other media organizations, including Refinery29 and Vox Media

Axios’ first foray into the entertainment sphere was through a television series deal with HBO in 2018 and  lasted for four seasons. Titled Axios, the show focused on interview-style reporting, featuring business executives like Google CEO Sundar Pichai and topical politicians like President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. HBO canceled the show in 2021, shortly before it won an Emmy that year. According to reporting from Puck News, HBO executives had “lost their appetite for news programing” and were focusing on developing HBO’s own streaming business

Axios’s new venture features a roster of collaborations with celebrity production companies, including Tom Brady’s Shadow Lion and Chrissy Teigen’s Huntley Productions

“Entertainment programming is a natural next step for Axios, using engaging documentary storytelling to make audiences smarter, faster about the ever-changing world around them,” CEO VandeHei, who is also the cofounder of Axios, said in a statement on Jan. 26. 

VandeHei founded Axios in 2016 with Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz. All three were journalists for Politico, of which VandeHei is a cofounder. VandeHei has said he envisioned Axios to be a mix between The Economist and Twitter by delivering well-reported news in an efficient format for readers. Allen reports for Axios and writes its daily Axios AM and Axios PM newsletters. Schwartz is CEO of Axios HQ, an artificial intelligence software program that assists companies with their internal communications efforts.

Axios was bought out by Cox Enterprises in 2022 for $525 million, a deal that also helped the company further access the local journalism market. Cox was an investor in the company prior to the acquisition.

The show launching with Amazon will be a docuseries called The Money Game produced with Campfire Studios and Shaquille O’Neal’s production company, Jersey Legends, about the recent policy change by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to allow athletes to control and profit from their name, image and likeness (called NIL). 

Axios Forays Into Video Products (Again) With Celebrity Collaborations