Viacom Media Networks (VMN) is making major changes in an effort to simplify its structure.
The TV giant announced Thursday that it would cut the number of brand groups to four from five. Paramount Network and TV Land will join Comedy Central to form one, led by Comedy Central president Kent Alterman. Meanwhile, MTV, VH1, and Logo president Chris McCarthy will add CMT to his portfolio to form the second group. The remaining two groups, BET Networks and Nickelodeon remain unchanged.
The reorganization comes as its parent company, Viacom Inc., tries to rejuvenate itself under the leadership of CEO Bob Bakish, who took over in 2016. The conglomerate is trying to reverse declining ad revenue and combat cord-cutting considering that several of its cable networks cater to younger audiences and streaming services.
There is a casualty to these changes: Kevin Kay, a Viacom veteran of more than two decades, is out. He had been overseeing TV Land, CMT, and Paramount Network following its rebrand from Spike TV. He will remain on for a period to assist Alterman with the transition.
“Over the course of his career at Viacom, Kevin’s creative vision and gift for telling great stories have made a lasting impact,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement. “Thanks to the efforts of Kevin and his team, we have successfully established Paramount Network as a home for premium content, and TV Land and CMT continue to be dominant forces in the audiences they serve.”
Bakish added: “These changes mark the next step in the ongoing evolution of our company as we continue to ensure we’re making the most of our great assets and resources, and operating as nimbly and efficiently as we can. Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land share an original content strategy anchored in scripted programming, and CMT – with its deep roots in music and unscripted programming – is a natural partner for MTV and VH1.”
Bakish took over as Viacom CEO in 2016 and has made several executive changes during his tenure. Earlier this year, long-serving BET chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee stepped down.