Jim Gianopulos will continue to oversee film operations following Viacom’s merger with CBS, the companies confirmed on Monday. The move was expected and comes as the media marriage is being wrapped up.
Gianopulos’ title will be chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. His mandate will continue to be calling the shots at Paramount Animation, Paramount Features, Paramount Players and Paramount TV. He joined the company in 2017 after decades at 20th Century Fox, where he climbed the ranks to eventually become its studio chief. Gianopulos is known for having strong relationships with the creative community and a deep understanding of the international marketplace.
In Paramount, he inherited a studio in disarray. His predecessor, Brad Grey, had overseen a series of financial failures and the company was faulted for having few major franchises in its arsenal. Gianopulos’ tenure has been mixed. The studio had a hit last summer with the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” and its “Mission: Impossible” series continues to be a reliable profit-generator, but recent films such as “Terminator: Dark Fate” and “Gemini Man” have been box office losers. However, Gianopulos was handpicked by Shari Redstone, who will become chairman of the combined company, and has her support as he tries to reinvigorate the studio.
The combined company will be known as ViacomCBS. Over the weekend, the company’s announced a series of leadership appointments. CBS chief creative officer David Nevins added oversight of Viacom-owned BET Networks, while MTV/VH1 chief Chris McCarthy took over Comedy Central, Paramount Network and other channels. As part of that shakeup, Comedy Central chief Kent Alterman and Viacom media networks COO Sarah Levy exited the company.
In addition, head of Nickelodeon Brian Robbins is becoming president, kids and family entertainment at ViacomCBS. The Viacom-CBS union is expected to close as soon as early December. The new entity will be led by current Viacom chief Bob Bakish.