Zach ‘ZHC’ Hsieh to Host YouTube’s ‘Instant Influencer’ Season 2, After James Charles Exit (EXCLUSIVE)

Todd Spangler
·3-min read

Zach “ZHC” Hsieh, a popular YouTube creator and artist, has been tapped as the host for Season 2 of YouTube’s “Instant Influencer” competition series, which promises one up-and-coming artist a $100,000 cash prize.

Last month YouTube confirmed that James Charles, the beauty vlogger who hosted the first season of “Instant Influencer,” would not return to host Season 2. That came after Charles had been accused of “grooming” a 16-year-old online; Charles called the accusation “completely false.”

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The “Instant Influencer” Season 2 with ZHC will run for eight episodes, up from four in Season 1, and is slated to debut later in 2021.

In Season 2, a group of 10 contestants — artists selected by ZHC and his producing partners — will compete for the title of “Instant Influencer” and the $100,000 prize. Casting kicks off Thursday (April 15) and aspiring contestants can apply to be on the show (at this link) during the next two weeks; applicants must be 18 and older and live in the U.S.

In “Instant Influencer” Season 2, which will be shot in L.A., ZHC and a panel of celebrity guest judges and industry expects will ask contestants to put their best creativity and artistry on display through a variety of challenges — including a 10-hour painting endurance challenge and a collaboration challenge to make the most engaging video with a top YouTube creator.

Hsieh, 22, is a self-taught artist known for YouTube videos showcasing his creative designs on everything from traditional canvases to iPhones, cars and even houses. (ZHC stands for “Zach Hsieh Comic Art.”)

“I am super excited to host Season 2 of ‘Instant Influencer,'” Hsieh said in a statement provided to Variety. “I’m so grateful for this huge opportunity given to me by YouTube to pay it forward to other up-and-coming artists. I can’t wait to show everyone our first YouTube originals show!”

Episodes of the new competition series will be released weekly, available for free on ZHC’s YouTube channel — which has more than 20 million subscribers — later this year. The show joins YouTube’s 2021 originals slate, which includes an “intimate” docuseries with Alicia Keys and a second interactive special with YouTube creator Markiplier, a follow-up to 2019’s “A Heist With Markiplier.”

“We are excited to expand upon the beauty and makeup themes of the first season and introduce a more diverse cast of competitors that are artists in a variety of different mediums,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said in a statement. “It was always our vision to incorporate different artistic points of view into the series, and we can’t wait for viewers to see all new forms of creative expression.”

Michael Gordon, executive producer of Season 2 and Hsieh’s manager at Night Media, commented, “This is a pivotal moment for Zach to take his career to the next level. We couldn’t have chosen better partners than the Brian Graden and the YouTube originals team — we are incredibly excited to see the end product.”

ZHC, originally from San Jose, Calif., joined YouTube in 2013 and started out by sharing art tutorials, challenges and vlogs created with his girlfriend, Michelle Chin. As his channel took off, Hsieh embraced the stunt-philanthropy trend with his videos, with giveaways and contests that have included “Customizing Everything In An Apple Store, Then Giving It Away” and “Last to Stop Customizing Gets Tesla!” He’s also collaborated with influencers including Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, Charli D’Amelio and Steve Aoki.

“Instant Influencer” is produced by Brian Graden Media. Executive producers are Brian Graden, Dave Mace, Catherine Keithley Lawson, Patrick Doody, Michael Gordon and Zachary “ZHC” Hsieh. YouTube head of unscripted Alex Piper and development exec Ryan Bratton oversee the series for YouTube originals.

Night Media is a multimedia talent management company founded by former sports agent Reed Duchscher. In addition to ZHC, Night Media’s talent roster includes MrBeast, Preston, Azzyland, Matt Stonie and Moriah Elizabeth.

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