Paramount Television Studios head Nicole Clemens is emerging as the likeliest candidate to oversee Paramount Plus’ original scripted programming amid a broader streaming content leadership shakeup at parent company ViacomCBS, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The move comes after Paramount Plus head of programming Julie McNamara, a 15-year-veteran of ViacomCBS, announced her departure Thursday.
Paramount declined to comment.
If Clemens takes the reins, Paramount Plus’ scripted programming and Paramount TV would both roll up to the well-liked exec. Sources say Paramount Plus, nee CBS All Access, needs a strong content leader to help them sort out their programming needs from ViacomCBS’ massive array of brands, including scheduling and timing. This scenario would poise Clemens to report to George Cheeks, CBS Entertainment Group president as well as Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos.
Recent series produced during her tenure at Paramount TV Studios include “Defending Jacob” and “Home Before Dark” for Apple TV Plus and “13 Reasons Why” for Netflix. Clemens joined Paramount in September 2018, after serving as a manager and producer at Anonymous Content and an executive vice president and head of series development at FX Networks. Prior to that she spent 16 years as an agent at ICM.
Clemens’ range of experience as a programmer at FX, production chief for Paramount Television and her background as a talent agent is seen as making her a good fit for the role. She has been highly regarded at Paramount since taking the reins of the TV production operation nearly three years ago.
The consolidation of production and programming responsibilities under Clemens is in keeping with the industry-wide trend of network and studio conglomerates centralizing operations to make it easier for one team to develop content for a range of in-house linear and digital platforms.
McNamara and Ryan sent memos to staff earlier Thursday announcing the former’s exit, which McNamara called a “bittersweet moment.” McNamara is not the only ViacomCBS streaming or digital exec to leave in recent months; with Ryan’s ascension last October, ViacomCBS chief digital officer Marc DeBevoise departed the company.