Gish will lead the new Adult Animation Unit as SVP, Adult Animation, Entertainment & Youth Brands. He starts August 31.
Adult animation has been a priority area for Entertainment & Youth Group President Chris McCarthy, originally at MTV Studios and more recently also at Comedy Central after he took oversight of the comedy-centric cable network in the post-Viacom-CBS merger restructuring late last year.
The strategy so far has involved mining the MTV library of iconic adult animation IP. That includes two reboots with the original series’ creators, Beavis and Butt-Head with Mike Judge and Clone High with Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence; as well as Jodie, based on the classic MTV series, Daria. Of the three, two have been set up at a network, both going to Comedy Central as part of that net’s shift from live-action to adult animation scripted programming, building on the legacy of long-running hit South Park. Additionally, Comedy Central just greenlighted The Ren and Stimpy Show, a reboot of the cult Nickelodeon cartoon.
As MTV has been doubling down on unscripted fare, the goal is for Comedy Central to grow its adult animation content fivefold within the next two years.
Adult animation has been one of the fastest growing programming areas across both linear and digital that attracts younger viewers; it has been the top genre in gaining streaming share. Adult Animation’s value further increased over the past five months as the only type of scripted programming virtually not impacted by COVID-19 that has managed to remain in continuous production during the pandemic.
“We are thrilled to have Grant lead our new Adult Animation unit as we expedite the rapid expansion of our adult animation content,” said McCarthy. “Adult Animation is an incredibly powerful asset that truly works on every platform and around the world. It’s also pandemic-proof, which is why we are reimagining many of our beloved iconic IPs, unlocking incredible value.”
Gish joins ViacomCBS from Marvel Studios, where he launched the Adult Comedy and Animation group within the former Marvel Television division. As VP of comedy and animation Gish spearheaded Marvel’s foray into half-hour comedy and adult animation with the upcoming Hulu series M.O.D.O.K. and Hit-Monkey.
Before that, Gish served as VP, Animation Development & Current Programming, 20th Century Fox TV where he helped develop the Emmy-winning series Bob’s Burgers and oversaw American Dad. He also did a stint at Good Humor TV, where he worked on HBO’s animated series The Life & Times Of Tim and helped develop Good Vibes.
“Grant has incredible instincts and a supercharged passion for animation. Along with his extraordinary reputation and impressive successes with some of the biggest hits in the genre, from Bob’s Burgers to American Dad – his vision is exactly what we’re looking for to lead our adult animation unit,” said Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer for ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group.
Gish’s hiring fits into ViacomCBS’ move to build content verticals across brands within the Entertainment & Youth Groups and is part of the Group’s broader strategy as they look to evolve from cable to content, developing and producing content for all platforms, including for ViacomCBS upcoming new shared streaming service (currently CBS All Access), linear cable networks, and digital platforms worldwide.
“I grew up on MTV’s Animation Studios content where I’d run home from school to watch Beavis and Butt-Head eating pretzels on my couch,” said Gish. “With access to such a vast library of IP that will enable us to break through the clutter coupled with the opportunity to create a fresh slate, I couldn’t be more excited to join the E&Y Group that’s growing in droves under Chris and Nina’s leadership.”
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