Viacom Digital Studios EVP Paula Kaplan Adds EVP Talent Duties At Nickelodeon

Paula Kaplan
Courtesy of Nickelodeon

In a consolidation move, Viacom veteran Paula Kaplan will expand her current role as EVP, Talent and Development, Viacom Digital Studios, to also oversee talent for Nickelodeon. Named EVP, Talent and Development, Viacom Digital Studios; and Talent, Nickelodeon, Kaplan will dually report to Brian Robbins, President of Nickelodeon; and Kelly Day, President of Viacom Digital Studios.

On the Nickelodeon side, Kaplan will be replacing Shelly Sumpter Gillyard who exited as EVP, Talent, Music and Events.

This marks a return to Nickelodeon for Kaplan and a reunion with Robbins. The two had worked together at the Viacom network long time ago, and Robbins in 2015 named her Chief Talent Officer and Head of Live Content for his AwesomenessTV venture. She is the latest former close associate that Robbins is bringing to his team at Nickelodeon.

“Paula is a creative leader who intuitively understands how to identify and cultivate breakthrough talent from, and for, all platforms,” Robbins said.

Added Day, “This evolution of her role at the company is a testament to the great work she has been doing at Viacom Digital Studios, and will position us well for the future by bringing the work of our talent teams closer together.”

Kaplan will continue to oversee talent and development at Viacom Digital Studios, while expanding her role to include oversight of Nickelodeon’s Talent Division–leading all talent relations across television, music programming and events and overseeing casting for live-action and animation properties.

In her previous stint at Nickelodeon, from 1993 to 2014, Kaplan held a string of roles at the network that included EVP, Original Programming & Live Events; EVP, Talent/General Manager, West Coast; SVP, Talent; and VP Talent Relations. During her tenure she developed such young talent as Ariana Grande, Kenan Thompson, Emma Roberts and Nick Cannon, oversaw production on Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards; and launched Nick’s music footprint by spearheading a joint venture with Sony Music encompassing TV series, albums and tours.

Kaplan’s role at Viacom Digital Studios, a position she assumed in April 2018, is to oversee the development and management of talent and production partnerships to build the VDS portfolio of original talent-centric IP.

As Chief Talent Officer and Head of Live Content for Awesomeness from 2015 to 2018, she led the company’s talent initiatives and casting strategies for film, series and new business opportunities. Kaplan was instrumental in the success of Awesomeness Film’s production of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for Netflix, which became one of the streaming service’s most-viewed original film.

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