Management Changes Coming to Nickelodeon: Report

Update: Bakish Says No Management Changes at NickelodeonViacom is about to make top-level management changes at Nickelodeon, according to a published report.

Sarah Levy, the executive in charge of operations and strategy for Viacom networks including MTV, Comedy Central and VH1, will be getting involved in operations and strategy for the top kids network, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move would reduce some of long-time Nickelodeon Group head Cyma Zarghami’s authority, the paper said.

Zarghami’s contract is expiring soon, and it isn’t certain whether she will remain with the company, the WSJ said. Zarghami is president of the group, overseeing linear, digital, mobile and consumer products for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick and Nicktoons.

Nickelodeon remains the highest rated kids channel; last year its overall viewership was flat.

The report comes as CEO Bob Bakish tries to turn the company around. It has been suffering from lower earnings as younger viewers desert traditional pay-TV. This week, the company fired about 100 staffers in a cost-cutting move.

“It isn’t just about cutting costs – although we want savings, too, and more flexibility to invest in new areas,” Bakish said in a memo to remaining staff. "These moves are really about our continued efforts to create a more agile and efficient organization that can thrive in a time of constant change."

Viacom’s controlling shareholders, the family of Sumner Redstone, are seeking to combine Viacom with CBS, also controlled by the Redstone holding company, National Amusements.

Viacom will report quarterly earnings on Thursday (Feb. 8).

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.