A year and a half ago after AwesomenessTV co-founder Brian Robbins joined Viacom to run Paramount Players, he is being named President of the company’s Nickelodeon Group. He succeeds Cyma Zarghami who stepped down in June after more than 30 years with the network. Robbins will report directly to Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish.
A search is underway for Robbins’ replacement as President of Paramount Players. In the interim, Wyck Godfrey, President of Paramount Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, will oversee day-to-day operations at Paramount Players, with support from Robbins during a transition period.
Robbins will manage the creative and business operations at Nickelodeon. As President of Paramount Pictures’ Paramount Players division, Robbins worked with Nickelodeon and Viacom’s other brands to identify talent and properties to be developed into co-branded feature films. In his new role, Robbins will remain integrally involved in the development, production and marketing of all Nickelodeon co-branded films with Paramount Players, including Dora the Explorer, Rugrats and other current projects.
“Brian is a creative powerhouse who has spent his career on the frontlines of our industry, anticipating and driving changes in television, film and digital media,” said Bakish. “With his unmatched credentials in kids’ entertainment and his firsthand knowledge of Nickelodeon, I have asked Brian to drive the innovation and transformation that will ensure the brand remains the dominant force with young audiences.”
Robbins, who was a well-known manager and co-founder of Tollin/Robbins before co-founding AwesomenessTV in 2012, drove all creative at the multi-platform media company and produced Expelled, Guidance, Foursome, t@gged, Freakish and the recent theatrical release Before I Fall.
Robbins was one of the first to tap into what is known as GenZ — the 12 to 24 year olds — and realize that the target demo was basically being ignored with content. In two to three years, his company went from a YouTube channel to a company that is worth almost a billion dollars. That’s the kind of thinking that studio needs as it struggles to find its footing again.
While at Tollin/Robbins Productions and as founder and President of Varsity Pictures, Robbins concentrated on the teen and YA demographic. He produced the CW series Smallville and One Tree Hill; Disney Channel’s Sonny With a Chance and So Random; Nickelodeon’s All That and Kenan and Kel; and Spike TV’s Blue Mountain State.
Robbins also was behind the WB series What I Like About You and HBO’s Arli$$. He directed and/or produced Disney’s feature films Wild Hogs and Shaggy Dog, Paramount’s Coach Carter, Hardball and Varsity Blues and DreamWorks’ Norbit and A Thousand Words; and Sony’s Radio.