×
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

  • Timbaland

    Hipgnosis Songs Acquires Timbaland Catalog

    The fast-rising Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited continues its aggressive growth surge, acquiring a catalog from songwriter-producer-artist Timbaland that comprises 108 albums and songs. Timbaland is one of the most successful songwriter-producers in the hip-hop/R&B realm: The catalog includes hits by Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, Madonna, 2Pac, Rihanna, Drake and [...]

  • Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for

    Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for New Studio Album

    Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has signed a new global recordings agreement with BMG to release his upcoming studio album. The still-untitled album, Wainwright’s ninth of original material and first since 2012, is described in the announcement as “a return to form and his most accessible album to date.” To that end, it is “the bookend” to [...]

  • Kevin Feige Marvel Studios Variety Cover

    Kevin Feige Named Chief Creative Officer of Marvel

    Kevin Feige’s universe continues to grow. The mastermind of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been named Chief Creative Officer, Marvel in addition to being president of Marvel Studios, Variety has learned. He will now be responsible for the overall creative direction of Marvel’s storytelling across mediums, including publishing, film, TV, and animation. Marvel Television and [...]

  • China presentation mipcom

    Reality Shows, Rom-Coms and Ping Pong Dramas: Chinese Producers Show Off TV Exports

    At its best, television serves as a mirror for its audience. This year, the Mipcom conference trained its annual country-of-focus spotlight on original TV content produced in China. That proved to be a timely choice as the conference came on the heels of last week’s headline-making clashes between Chinese and Western cultural values in the [...]

  • Felicity Huffman

    Felicity Huffman Reports to Federal Prison to Serve Two-Week Sentence

    Felicity Huffman reported to federal prison in Dublin, Calif., on Tuesday morning to begin her two-week sentence for paying to cheat on her daughter’s SAT test. Huffman pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, admitting that she paid $15,000 to consultant Rick Singer to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Judge Idira Talwani sentenced her last [...]

  • Sallie Krawcheck

    Sallie Krawcheck's Ellevest Launches Women-Focused Impact Investment Platform

    Ellevest, the female-focused investment platform headed by Sallie Krawcheck, has launched an impact investment fund that will court high-net-worth women in entertainment and other sectors who want to tailor their stock portfolios to favor companies with good track records on a range of social concerns. Krawcheck, who was one of the highest-ranking women on Wall [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content