You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

David Nevins: CBS-Viacom Merger to Create ‘Virtuous Eco-System’ for Content

CBS and Viacom leaders are looking for opportunities to create a “virtuous eco-system” for content that can prosper across the various platforms of the two companies that are set to merge by year’s end. That was the sentiment shared by David Nevins, chief creative officer of CBS and chairman-CEO of Showtime Networks, during a Q&A on Thursday held as part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Media, Communications and Entertainment conference in Beverly Hills.

In the Q&A with veteran analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich, Nevins pointed to the deal that was afoot even before the merger agreement was reached for CBS to produce a new “Star Trek” animated series for Viacom’s Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon was a better platform to introduce the show than anything in the CBS family. Having more outlets that reach a wider mix of demographics is good for the long-term cultivation of important CBS-Viacom IP such as “Star Trek.”

“What we’re trying to do right now with ‘Star Trek’ is build that brand. We want it to get younger and more relevant to people,” Nevins said. The hope is that sharing resources across the Viacom and CBS properties will “create this virtuous eco-system between all of those platforms,” he said. “If you’re smart about it you can create a lot of value.”

At the same time, ViacomCBS intend to remain active program suppliers to outside buyers. Nevins echoed the comments from Wednesday made by Jim Gianopulos, head of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, in noting that ViacomCBS will be well-positioned to as a third-party supplier as Disney, NBCUniversal and other major players funnel more of their productions to in-house streaming platforms.

Nevins cited CBS’ decision to produce the series “Diary of a Female President” from “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez for the Disney Plus because it was not the right fit for CBS, the CW or Showtime. The “BH90210” reunion series was produced by CBS (which owns the original

“We really believe in serving not only our own eco-system but serving people on the outside,” Nevins said. “There’s a lot of demand and a lot of suppliers pulling back.”

Nevins asserted that one of ViacomCBS’ selling points to the creative community at a time when talent costs are skyrocketing is that CBS shows have a strong track record of off-network success.

“We tend to make money for our partners,” Nevins said. “That backend possibility … becomes an important differentiator in a world where talent goes where they want to go and they want their stuff to matter.”

Reif Ehrlich pressed on how ViacomCBS plans to compete in at a time when talent costs are skyrocketing and nine-figure production pacts have become the norm for A-list talent. Nevins said the key is to nurture great material.

“The reason we’ve gotten Russell Crowe or Jim Carrey or Bryan Cranston (on Showtime series) is because of the material we develop,” Nevins said. “It’s not like ‘Here’s a giant deal and we’ll develop a script for you.’ It’s here’s a great script that we’re going to make really well. People sometimes forget that. You can buy somebody but frequently what wins the day is a great piece of material and a great creative environment.”

More Biz


    Netflix and Ava DuVernay Sued by Police Interrogation Firm

    The company behind a controversial police interrogation technique filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, claiming that it was defamed in DuVernay’s miniseries on the Central Park jogger case. John E. Reid and Associates developed the Reid Technique in the late 1940s, and it has continued to offer training materials [...]

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger'Terminator: Dark Fate' film panel,

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Trades CAA for UTA

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has departed his former agency CAA and signed with UTA, which will represent the global superstar and two-time Governor of California in all areas. Schwarzenegger, whose films have grossed more than $4.7 billion worldwide, is set to reprise his celebrated role in the “Terminator” franchise, starring in “Terminator: Dark Fate.” He will also [...]

  • Patrick Moran

    Former ABC Studios Head Patrick Moran Signs Amazon Overall Deal

    Patrick Moran has signed an overall deal with Amazon, Variety has learned. The news comes around three months after it was announced that Moran would be exiting his role as president of ABC Studios following restructuring in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger. Under his new deal, Moran will work with Amazon Studios to [...]

  • Pamela Adlon

    Pamela Adlon Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Multi-hyphenate Pamela Adlon has signed with CAA for representation, Variety has learned exclusively. Due to the ongoing dispute between the Writers Guild and the talent agencies, however, CAA will not be representing Adlon for writing. In addition to writing, Adlon is an actress, producer, and director. She continues to be repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Talent Agent Joseph Eric Rice Dies at 61

    Joseph Eric Rice, a talent agent who headed JR Talent Group, died unexpectedly at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif. He was 61. Rice headed his own talent agency based in Studio City where he primary handled actors. Earlier in his career, he headed the theatrical department at Abrams Artists Agency. Rice was born in [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Santos Dumont

    Mipcom: International TV Output Picture Changing for U.S. Majors

    The global import-export strategies of the U.S. majors are in flux as the world’s major content companies gather this week in Cannes for the annual Mipcom market and conference. Disney, WarnerMedia and the other handful of media conglomerates that control the vast majority of the U.S. market are in the midst of a radical transition [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content