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Nickelodeon President Russell Hicks Stepping Down After 18 Years at Network

UPDATED: June 8 with the internal memo sent around Nickelodeon, regarding Hicks’ departure.

Nickelodeon president Russell Hicks is departing the Viacom-owned kids’ network, after 18 years with the cabler, Variety has confirmed.

Russell Hicks has decided to step down from his position effective immediately,” a Nickelodeon spokesperson confirmed to Variety on Tuesday evening.

There are no plans to replace him at this time.

Hicks’ exit was announced internally Wednesday morning with a memo sent around to Nickelodeon staff from Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon and Viacom Media Networks Kids & Family Group. (See the full memo below.)

 

Hicks was named president in 2012. Prior, he was the net’s chief creative officer. As president of content development and production for the Nickelodeon Group, he oversaw development for live-action and animation, plus production teams for all of Nickelodeon’s channels, which include Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick and Nicktoons.

Before joining Nickelodeon, Hicks was vice president of marketing at Cartoon Network/Turner brands.

Hicks’ departure — first reported by Deadline — is one of many high-up executive exits at Viacom recently, following shakeups at MTV, VH1, TV Land and most recently, Comedy Central.

Here is the full memo regarding Hicks’ departure:

I wanted to share with you the news that Russell Hicks has decided to step down from his position at Nickelodeon. 

For the last 18 years, Russell has been an incredible creative partner not just to me, but to our entire organization, first as Chief Creative Officer, but especially during these last four years, in which he served as our President of Content Development and Production.

Though it is hard to have to say good-bye to someone who has been such a fixture at the company, and a friend, this transition comes at a time when the Nickelodeon brand truly is in a position of strength.

Since moving to the West Coast in 2012, Russell expertly shepherded our terrific development and creative teams to some of our greatest creative successes. Our content pipeline at the moment is the most full and varied it has ever been.  Our relationships with the creative community have never been as deep as they are today. And we have a schedule of hits, in every genre, across all of our platforms. 

All of our great work has put us back at number one–with preschoolers, with kids 2-11, and as of the end of May, with kids 6-11 once again. In fact, our just-launched show, The Loud House, which originated from our shorts program, is already the top animated kids’ show on TV, joining SpongeBob and Alvinnn! to lock up the overall top three.

The current temporary structure for our teams will remain in place while we regroup and formulate the right plan for going forward.

I hope you will join me in wishing Russell all the best and thanking him for his immeasurable contributions to Nickelodeon; I know we will miss him.  I could not be more proud of all of you and all the great work at Nickelodeon right now.

–Cyma

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