Chris McCarthy, Brian Robbins & George Cheeks Promoted As ViacomCBS Moves International Units Under Purview Of U.S. Execs

(L-R) Chris McCarthy, Brian Robbins and George Cheeks ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS has restructured its international reporting structure, bringing its global business under the control of a trio of U.S. execs.

George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy and Brian Robbins have all been promoted as part of the move.

Cheeks, who is President and CEO, CBS Entertainment Group, will expand his role to include responsibility for a global content strategy across ViacomCBS’ free-to-air networks around the world. These include Channel 5 in the UK, Telefe in Argentina and Network Ten in Australia.

McCarthy and Robbins have added global oversight for their brand groups – MTV Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon. There are no specifics but word is that, like with Cheeks, the oversight is content-related and includes programming and marketing.

The pair have also added a CEO tag to their titles. McCarthy, who was President of MTV Entertainment Group becomes President and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group, while Robbins takes the same for the kids’ network.

McCarthy, Robbins and Cheeks will also continue to report to Bob Bakish, President & CEO, ViacomCBS. The trio has emerged as key members of Bakish’s team with two promotions in two weeks — last week each of them also added Paramount+ responsibilities.

Elsewhere, Dan Cohen, President of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, will add distribution of ViacomCBS International Studios content to his unit. The studios arm produces largely for the Spanish-language market as well as a handful of titles in the UK and is responsible for around 900 hours of programming. It did launch ViacomCBS International Studios Distribution in October bringing together a number of different sales units.

Barbara Zaneri, has also been promoted to Chief Program Acquisitions Officer for ViacomCBS, buying shows globally across linear, streaming and pay.  The former EVP, Global Program Acquisitions still reports to McCarthy.

It’s not clear whether the moves will lead to any departures. We’ll update if we hear anything more. It is the latest moves at the company since the merger with the coming together still having reverberations across the business.

International heads previously just reported into Raffaele Annecchino, President & CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, who was appointed to the role in December after longtime Viacom exec David Lynn departed. They still report into him, but also now report into McCarthy and Robbins, adding a dual reporting element.

When Annecchino was appointed, he was tasked with overseeing all of ViacomCBS’ media networks outside of the U.S. The company said Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins would work closely with him but said that “international brand leadership will be realigned under this new structure”.  It is unclear whether Annecchino would now handle the operational side of the non-U.S. networks, with Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins focusing on content.

Last week, the company restructured its content leadership team, including appointing Tanya Giles, currently GM of MTV Entertainment Group, as “a centralized programming head” to oversee content strategy for Paramount+ and Pluto TV globally.

“These changes enable a truly global approach to brand management, content acquisitions and licensing across ViacomCBS’ networks around the world,” said Bob Bakish. “With a global reach of 4.1 billion cumulative homes in over 180 countries, our globally aligned leadership structure will ensure that our internationally recognized brands and content are ubiquitous across every platform and every market.”

Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report. 

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