ViacomCBS has named George Cheeks President and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, effective March 23. In an anticipated move, Cheeks succeeds Joe Ianiello, who will be leaving the company after a transition period.
Cheeks joins after resigning from NBCUniversal earlier this month where he was Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios. In his new role, Cheeks will lead CBS-branded assets, including CBS Television Network, which encompasses CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports, CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Stations and CBS’ first-run syndication business. He will also partner with the ViacomCBS digital organization on the CBS-branded digital assets, including CBS All Access.
Cheeks will report to Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS.
“I am thrilled to welcome George back to the family at this exciting moment for ViacomCBS,” said Bakish.
“Throughout his career, George has built broad experience in broadcast and studio operations and brings a unique mix of skills – combining deep commercial expertise and industry relationships with strong creative and programming capabilities. With his finger on the pulse of culture and change and his strong grasp of strategy, brands, audiences and content monetization, George will help CBS build on its position as the most-watched broadcast network and drive results across the entire CBS portfolio.”
“I am incredibly honored to join the stellar CBS team and help lead these incredible brands forward. From news to sports to entertainment, CBS sets the standard, and I look forward to building on this tremendous foundation as we find new and innovative ways to deliver CBS to audiences worldwide,” said Cheeks.
Bakish said he was grateful to Ianiello “for his many contributions to CBS and for the meaningful role he has played in bringing the CBS and Viacom teams together.”
Ianiello has been running the broadcaster since former CEO Les Moonves stepped down in September of 2018 after a sexual harassment scandal.
As Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios, Cheeks helped run NBCUniversal’s television studios. Previously, he served as Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment, where he was jointly responsible for the network’s primetime, late night and scripted daytime programming – including business affairs, marketing, communications, scheduling, West Coast research and digital operations and first-run syndication.
Prior to joining NBC in 2012, Cheeks served as EVP, Business Affairs and General Counsel for Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. He he served in legal roles at Nickelodeon, MTV, CMT and LOGO.
Earlier in his career, he held positions at Castle Rock Entertainment and the law firms Loeb & Loeb and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman. He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, Phi Beta Kappa, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.