Longtime Viacom exec Robert “Bob” Bakish is stepping into the role of Viacom’s acting CEO and president on November 15, officially ending Tom Dooley’s brief stint as Philippe Dauman’s replacement. At the same time, the media conglomerate is reestablishing its Kids and Family Group as Nickelodeon Group.
By rebranding, the division will put more focus on its Nickelodeon kids cable channel and look to leverage additional growth opportunities around its kids business, including recreation and hospitality.
According to a Viacom spokesperson, Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami will continue to lead the division, and there are no management changes to announce on the kids side at this time.
Viacom’s Kids and Family Group was last restructured in 2015 amid a wave of layoffs within the net’s preschool and animation operations. The changes culminated with the exit of Nick vet Russell Hicks as president of content development and production this past June.
The new Nickelodeon Group will continue to be comprised of Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nick at Nite, NickMom and NickToons, but TV Land and CMT are moving to a new business unit called the Viacom Global Entertainment Group.
Bakish will also serve as CEO and president of the new unit, which combines Viacom’s International Media Networks division with its domestic networks arm Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, housing MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. African-American adult-targeted BET Networks will continue to function as a dedicated and separate group.
In his overall remit, Bakish will look to breathe new life into all Viacom brands by investing and creating new content and expanding distribution.
Bakish most recently served as president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), and its predecessor company MTV Networks International, since 2007. Under his watch, international revenue doubled and Viacom’s more than 200 TV channels reached a combined 3.9 billion subscribers.
The leadership changes and rebranding come on the heels of a potential CBS-Viacom merger that was officially proposed by Summer Redstone’s National Amusements in late September.