Viacom and CBS Shake Up Executive Ranks Ahead of Combination


Viacom Inc.

VIA 0.16%


CBS Corp.

CBS.A -0.35%

are realigning the leadership of their creative operations in advance of the expected closing of their merger in early December, people familiar with the matter said.

The restructuring will result in consolidation among the cable programming and digital operations of the two companies. Viacom and CBS have already detailed combinations of their advertising sales and content distribution units.

The new structure is expected to be announced Monday.

Two content units that will continue to operate independently after the merger are CBS Television Studios, the production arm of CBS, and Paramount Television, its counterpart at Viacom, a person briefed on the plans said.

As a result of the moves, several Viacom and CBS executives will be given additional responsibilities. Also, two senior Viacom executives will depart the company, the people familiar with the organizational changes said.

Chris McCarthy, who oversees Viacom’s MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo cable channels, will become president of entertainment and youth brands and add Comedy Central, TV Land and Paramount Network to his portfolio as well as CBS’s Smithsonian Channel. He will continue to report to

Bob Bakish,

the chief executive of Viacom who will retain that title at ViacomCBS Inc., which will be the name of the merged entity.

Nickelodeon and its sister channels and production studio will continue to be under

Brian Robbins,

president, kids and family entertainment, who will also now oversee the digital platform AwesomenessTV, which Viacom acquired last year. He also reports to Mr. Bakish.

Kent Alterman, who currently runs Comedy Central, TV Land and Paramount Network, will depart the company after the merger closes. Mr. Alterman has Viacom ties of nearly 20 years. He has run Comedy Central since 2016 and added oversight of TV Land and Paramount Networks last year.

Successful shows developed under Mr. Alterman at Comedy Central include “Key & Peele,” “Broad City” and “Inside Amy Schumer.”

Also departing after the deal closes is Sarah Levy, chief operating officer of Viacom’s Media Networks group.


Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Viacom

Also departing after the deal closes is

Sarah Levy,

chief operating officer of Viacom’s Media Networks group, which includes its U.S. cable networks and international operations. In that role, she oversaw business operations but had little involvement in the creative direction of the networks. She won’t be replaced.

Ms. Levy has been with Viacom for over 20 years. Most of that time was spent at Nickelodeon where she rose to chief operating officer. She was named to her current role in early 2018.

Mr. Alterman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Ms. Levy declined to comment.

David Nevins,

the chief creative officer of CBS and the chairman and chief executive of Showtime Network, will add Viacom’s BET Network to his responsibilities.

Scott Mills

will continue to lead BET. Mr. Nevins will report to Mr. Bakish regarding Showtime and BET and CBS Chief Executive

Joe Ianniello

in his role as creative chief of that company.

Mr. Nevins will also chair a newly created programming council of all the Viacom and CBS creative operations. The council is aimed at encouraging the various creative units to work closely together, the person familiar with the plans said.

The digital operations of Viacom and CBS will report to

Marc DeBevoise,

chief executive of CBS Interactive. He will report to Mr. Bakish on matters related to Viacom digital operations and continue to report to Mr. Ianniello regarding CBS Interactive. 

Pluto TV, the advertiser-supported streaming service Viacom acquired earlier this year, will continue to be overseen by

Tom Ryan

who reports to Mr. Bakish.

The closing of Viacom and CBS’s merger is expected in early December.


johannes eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Write to Joe Flint at [email protected]

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