Head of Paramount Footage is ousted as ViacomCBS focuses on streaming.


In 2017, Viacom turned to considered one of Hollywood’s most seasoned and revered executives, James N. Gianopulos, to revive its flatlining Paramount Footage operation. Mr. Gianopulos shortly stabilized the 1910s-era studio — repairing relationships with filmmakers and producers, constructing a thriving tv division from near-scratch, and restoring Paramount to profitability.

He was ousted on Monday, along with his standing because the consummate Hollywood insider having curdled right into a legal responsibility, a minimum of to ViacomCBS, the conglomerate that owns Paramount, the place streaming, streaming, streaming is the brand new forex of the realm.

Brian Robbins, 58, who runs Viacom’s youngsters’s tv enterprise, will succeed Mr. Gianopulos, 69, as chief government of Paramount Footage, ViacomCBS mentioned. Emma Watts, 51, the president of Paramount’s Movement Image Group, was notably handed over for the job.

The reversal of fortune for Mr. Gianopulos, who had two years left on his contract, didn’t shock the film capital, the place hypothesis about his standing inside ViacomCBS had been gossiped about for months. Shari Redstone, who controls the corporate, had signaled in personal that Mr. Gianopulos had turn into a frustration. Particularly, he had, at occasions, resisted a ViacomCBS effort to prioritize the Paramount+ streaming service on the expense of ticket gross sales and theaters. Massive-screen releases stay of essential significance to studio companions like Tom Cruise, who stars in Paramount’s “Mission: Unimaginable” sequence and coming “High Gun” sequel.

However the ouster rattled the movie enterprise nonetheless. It was seen by some as barbarous — custom holds that senior statesmen get to jot down their very own endings. And it added to a altering of the guard: Ron Meyer, a longtime movie energy at Common, left final 12 months amid a intercourse scandal, and Alan F. Horn, the chief inventive officer at Walt Disney Studios, is broadly anticipated to retire within the coming months.

Bob Bakish, the chief government of ViacomCBS, mentioned in a press release that the management change would “construct on Paramount’s robust momentum, guaranteeing it continues to interact audiences at scale whereas embracing viewers’ evolving tastes and habits.” He mentioned Mr. Robbins was an “skilled” at growing franchises by “leaning into the distinctive strengths of recent and established platforms.”

Mr. Bakish referred to as Mr. Gianopulos “a towering determine in Hollywood” and thanked him for revitalizing Paramount. In the identical assertion, Mr. Gianopulos recounted an inventory of main adjustments he had efficiently navigated over his almost 40-year profession — such because the introduction of VCRs and on-line movie leases — and wished Mr. Robbins “all the perfect success.”

For a lot of movie business stalwarts, Mr. Robbins is an affront to their identities; he comes from tv, mentioned whereas holding one’s nostril. Mr. Robbins has expertise as a film producer and director. However a lot of the Hollywood institution additionally seems down on that a part of his résumé, which incorporates “Norbit,” a commercially profitable however critically reviled Eddie Murphy car from 2007. Not precisely Oscar bait.

Mr. Robbins gained fame as a younger actor within the 1980s by enjoying a mulleted insurgent on the ABC sitcom “Head of the Class.” Within the 1990s and 2000s he labored as a tv producer (“Kenan & Kel” on Nickelodeon, “Smallville” on the WB) and a movie director (“Norbit,” “Varsity Blues”).

By 2009, nevertheless, Mr. Robbins began to turn into disillusioned with Hollywood. Youthful audiences — his specialty — had been residing on-line. He started experimenting with low-budget movies starring YouTube personalities like Lucas Cruikshank (a.okay.a. Fred Figgelhorn) and began a YouTube channel, AwesomenessTV, aimed toward teenage ladies. In 2013, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was then working DreamWorks Animation, purchased AwesomenessTV for about $33 million. (Mr. Katzenberg stays a mentor.)

“There is no such thing as a film enterprise anymore!” Mr. Robbins was quoted by Quick Firm as saying in 2013. “The mannequin’s damaged, and I see that as a chance.”

Mr. Robbins was named president of Nickelodeon, which can also be owned by ViacomCBS, in 2018. He has turn into recognized inside Viacom as a plain-spoken, never-say-die futurist who believes that Paramount+, the corporate’s comparatively small streaming service, have to be supercharged. Mr. Robbins has eagerly rerouted new youngsters’s programming towards Paramount+ and away from Nickelodeon’s conventional cable channels. One such present, a reboot of “iCarly,” has been successful for the streaming service.

Mr. Gianopulos, or “Jim G” as everybody in Hollywood refers to him, will stay a guide till the top of the 12 months, ViacomCBS mentioned. “Jim is nothing lower than legendary on this enterprise, and I’m humbled and grateful to him for his years of mentorship and friendship,” Mr. Robbins mentioned in a press release.

Mr. Robbins will proceed to steer Nickelodeon, ViacomCBS mentioned. However he won’t get all of Mr. Gianopulos’s portfolio; Paramount Tv Studios will now report back to David Nevins, the chairman and chief government of Showtime Networks.

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