Brian Robbins to Become Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures

Nickelodeon head Brian Robbins is slated to become the next chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, sources have confirmed to Variety.

Robbins currently oversees Nickelodeon and has established a reputation as a key purveyor of content aimed at teens and younger viewers. He also serves as the chief content officer of kids & family for Paramount Plus, the streaming service launched this year by ViacomCBS, the studio’s parent company. Robbins, a former child actor who appeared on the ABC sitcom “Head of the Class,” founded AwesomenessTV in 2012. He sold the company, which specialized in making YouTube content for generation Z, to DreamWorks Animation, which later sold stakes to Hearst and Verizon. Viacom bought the platform in 2018 following Comcast’s acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. Robbins later oversaw Paramount Players, a production division that created the likes of “What Men Want” and the live-action adaptation of “Dora the Explorer.”

Robbins will take the reins from Jim Gianopulos, a respected film veteran who took over the studio in 2017 after a long stint at 20th Century Fox. Paramount controls valuable franchises such as “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers,” but it has often found itself punching up against entertainment giants such as Disney and Warner Bros., which have deeper libraries. ViacomCBS further complicated matters by being slow to launch in an in-house streaming service to rival HBOMax, Disney Plus, Netflix and other platforms. During the height of the pandemic when theaters were closed, Paramount sold several films such as “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Without Remorse” to streaming services, often for major paydays.

A person familiar with the matter said Robbins is expected to retain oversight of Nickelodeon. A formal announcement of his promotion could come as soon as Friday. Gianopulos is expected to remain at the studio for a period of time to oversee the transition. It’s unclear what the news will mean for the executive team that Gianopulos has established at the studio.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of Robbins’ promotion and Gianopulos’ departure. A spokesperson for Viacom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

William Earl contributed to this report. 

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