Just before closing their long-anticipated merger, Viacom and CBS are shaking up their TV executive ranks, according to insiders familiar with the moves.
Comedy Central veteran Kent Alterman is leaving the fold when the merger closes in the coming weeks. MTV Networks boss Chris McCarthy and CBS Chief Creative Officer David Nevins are among those adding to their turf.
McCarthy has steered Logo and progressively gained oversight of VH1, MTV and CMT, sparking ratings turnarounds and helping Viacom see its first quarterly ad-sales gains in years. He will become president of entertainment and youth brands. That will give Comedy Central, TV Land and Paramount Network to him, as well as Smithsonian Channel, which is owned by CBS. He will continue to report to CEO Bob Bakish.
Alterman, who spent two decades in various roles at Viacom, made his biggest mark at Comedy Central, where he shepherded defining hits like Key & Peele and Inside Amy Schumer. Along with Alterman, another 20-year Viacom veteran, Sarah Levy, is departing. The COO of Viacom’s Media Networks group, which includes U.S. cable networks and international, won’t be replaced.
Nevins, who got a big promotion a year ago from CEO of Showtime to a much broader role across CBS overseeing the broadcast network, Pop and Showtime, will now look after Viacom’s BET. Scott Mills will remain the head of BET, reporting to Nevins.
After the reshuffling, Tom Ryan will continue to run Pluto, reporting to Bakish. He had previously reported to Viacom CFO Wade Davis, whose departure post-close had already been confirmed.
Kelly Day will remain atop Viacom Digital Studios, which will now fall under the auspices of CBS Interactive chief Marc DeBevoise.
Nickelodeon chief Brian Robbins, who founded AwesomenessTV, which Viacom acquired in 2018, is adding oversight of youth brand while continuing to lead Nick. He will now have the title of President, Kid & Family Entertainment.
The moves were first announced in the Wall Street Journal and are expected to be formally announced Monday.
Both CBS and Viacom are reporting their quarterly earnings next week, their last presentations to Wall Street as separate companies.
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