As expected, Cyma Zarghami, President of Viacom’s Kids and Family Group, today officially announced the departure of Nickelodeon’s President of Content Development and Production Russell Hicks. In an internal memo, she described the 18-year Nick veteran as “an incredible creative partner not just to me, but to our entire organization.”
As we reported, there will be no immediate replacement for Hicks. “The current temporary structure for our teams will remain in place while we regroup and formulate the right plan for going forward,” Zarghami wrote. Here is her memo:
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.