ViacomCBS Consolidates Network Leadership in Pre-Merger Shakeup

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With the CBS-Viacom merger expected to close in early December, the combined company has set its content and executive teams, consolidating network leadership among a few execs including Chris McCarthy and David Nevins.

McCarthy—currently president of MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo—has been named president of entertainment and youth brands at ViacomCBS’ domestic media networks, and will now additionally oversee Viacom’s Comedy Central, TV Land and Paramount Network, as well as CBS’ Smithsonian Channel.

Nevins—who is chief creative officer for CBS and Showtime Networks’ chairman and CEO—will add oversight of BET, in addition to all the CBS properties he heads up. BET president Scott Mills will remain in his role, reporting to Nevins.

Additionally, Nevins will chair a new content council made up of all Viacom and CBS creative operations, to make sure they are working together to maximize use of IP and talent relationships across the combined company.

Nickelodeon chief Brian Robbins will continue to run that network, as president of kids and family entertainment, ViacomCBS domestic media networks. He’ll also oversee Awesomeness, which he co-founded in 2012 and ran before leaving the company in 2017 when he was named president of Paramount Players. (Viacom acquired Awesomeness last year.)

As part of the exec shakeup, two Viacom execs—both of whom worked at the company for two decades—will be exiting following the merger: Kent Alterman, who had been running Comedy Central since 2016 and added TV Land and Paramount Network oversight last year as part of a major Viacom restructuring, and Sarah Levy, COO of Viacom Media Networks.

Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish, who will serve as ViacomCBS president and CEO, also said that Marc DeBevoise—who last week was promoted to CEO of CBS Interactive—will head up all digital operations of ViacomCBS as chief digital officer.

Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan—whose ad-supporting streaming service Viacom bought in March—will continue reporting directly to Bakish.

Kelly Day, who heads up Viacom Digital Studios, will continue in that role and report to DeBevoise. Phil Wiser, chief technology officer at CBS, will continue in the role for the combined company, reporting to DeBevoise.

In other ViacomCBS exec appointments, Jim Gianopulos will oversee filmed entertainment, continuing as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Carolyn Kroll Reidy will lead the company’s publishing assets, continuing as president and CEO of Simon & Schuster.

Today’s shakeup continues McCarthy’s rapid ascent at Viacom. He was named GM of MTV2 in 2010, and added Logo in 2014. He was named GM of VH1 in 2015, and was promoted to president of VH1 and Logo in 2016, before being tapped to lead MTV in 2016. Last year, he added CMT to his purview.

“ViacomCBS will be one of the largest premium content creators in the world, with the capacity to produce content for both our own platforms and for others,” Bakish said in a statement. “This talented team of content leaders will work together to ensure we realize the full power of our brands, our deep relationships with the creative community and our intellectual property to drive our growth as a combined company.”

Bakish has been firming up his ViacomCBS team over the past several weeks.

Two weeks ago, he tapped Jo Ann Ross—who has headed up ad sales for CBS since 2002—to serve as president and chief advertising revenue officer of domestic advertising sales at ViacomCBS. Bakish selected Ross over his in-house ad sales chief, Sean Moran, who will leave the company following the merger.

After three years of on-and-off talks, CBS and Viacom announced their merger plans in August. On Oct. 28, CBS and Viacom announced that parent company National Amusement had approved the merger, which is now expected to close by early December.

Today’s exec announcements were made ahead of what is expected to be CBS and Viacom’s final quarterly earnings releases as separate companies. CBS will announce earnings on Tuesday, with Viacom following on Thursday.

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