Following the merger of CBS and Viacom announced earlier this year, the combined company today confirmed its plans to restructure its content and digital leadership teams in order to streamline operations. Among the changes, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, are the departures of Comedy Central head Kent Alterman and Viacom Networks COO Sarah Levy. Meanwhile, CBS Chief Creative Officer David Nevins will add BET to his responsibilities, while president of MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo Chris McCarthy, will now become president of Entertainment & Youth Brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks.
This will put McCarthy in charge of Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel and TV Land brands.
Nevins, in addition to BET, will oversee CBS Television Studios, the CBS Television Network’s Entertainment division, the Showtime Networks, Pop, The CW and the programming of streaming service CBS All Access.
In terms of children's content, Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins will oversee kids and young adult-focused programming as president, Kids & Family Entertainment, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. That puts him back in charge of Awesomeness, which he co-founded and sold to Viacom in 2018, in addition to Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons and Nickelodeon Studios.
ViacomCBS also said that Carolyn Kroll Reidy will continue her role as president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. And Jim Gianopulos will continue as chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures, a role that includes oversight of Paramount Animation, Paramount Features, Paramount Players and Paramount TV.
The exec shuffles follow other announcements about the combinations of the two companies' advertising sales and content distribution teams.
In addition, the company had previously announced Joe Ianniello would serve as chairman and CEO of CBS, which includes oversight of CBS Television Network (including CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports), CBS Television Studios, CBS Interactive (including CBS All Access) and CBS Television Stations. However, he lost oversight of Showtime and Pop TV to president and CEO of Viacom and ViacomCBS, Bob Bakish.
Also previously reported was that CBS Interactive chief Jim Lanzone had left for Benchmark Capital, to be replaced by Marc DeBevoise. This puts DeBevoise in charge of digital operations, in his new role as President and CEO of CBS Interactive and Chief Digital Officer of ViacomCBS. He will report to Bakish.
Viacom Digital Studios Kelly Day will continue in her role and report to DeBevoise, the company also said today. And CBS CTO Phil Wiser will become ViacomCBS CTO.
The free streaming service Pluto TV, headed by co-founder Tom Ryan, will report to Bakish. (In news unrelated to the exec changes, Pluto TV announced today it will start streaming music videos from Vevo across 10 new channels.)
These leadership changes are meant to consolidate operations while keeping the production arms of CBS Television Studios and Viacom's counterpart, Paramount Television, separated, The WSJ said.
Beyond the exec shuffle itself, ViacomCBS also detailed how it plans to maximize its combined assets. The company announced this morning it's putting into place a new "Content Council" that will work to "maximize the use of IP and talent relationships" across the company. The council will be chaired by Nevins and include all the content leaders.
"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," said president and CEO of ViacomCBS Bob Bakish, 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," he added.
The Viacom-CBS merger is expected to fully close in December.