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McCarthy Named GM of Viacom’s VH1

Viacom’s VH1 is under new leadership.

Chris McCarthy has been named general manager. Tom Calderone, who had been president, is leaving the network.

McCarthy had been overseeing MTV2 and Logo, among the few Viacom networks showing ratings growth. McCarthy will report to Doug Herzog, president of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group.

Calderone informed network staffers of his departure in a memo to staff Tuesday (see below).

Like many Viacom networks, VH1 has faced ratings challenges. With an emerging popular franchise in Love & Hip Hop, VH1 had three positive quarters in a row from 4Q 2013 to 2Q 2014 before beginning to slide again. In the second quarter, ratings were down 19%.

“Chris is a multi-talented executive with a proven ability to build brands and drive viewership across very different demos,” said Herzog. “He’s a forward-thinking leader for this new era in media and a terrific fit for VH1, a beloved brand with a strong team and a unique place in pop culture.” 

Below is the email from Calderone:

This email from me is not about a "Best Job Ever" contest, or links to our new shows, or some really great music that we are championing.

I'm reaching out today because I am leaving the VH1 family. And with that in mind, my very first thought, was to send an email to say thank you to all of you.

Usually these emails start with "I never thought I would be sending  this..." or "I remember when I was at...." (then pick a personal story about a crazy behind the scene moment at a taping of a scripted or unscripted show, or a funny antidote about Live Aid, Unplugged, Storytellers, VMA, or a wacky pop culture event.) Trust me,  some of those are my stories, and I have shared those moments with countless of you throughout my time here. 

As important as those stories are to paint a picture of my journey, as I leave here in the next week, I find it more important to say thank you.

Thank You for allowing me to be a part of your creative and business lives here at Vh1 and Palladia. As well as my years at MTV and MTV2.

Thank You for always feeling comfortable to stop by my office to ask a question, bounce an idea, or just to simply talk about a creative solution to a problem. Or sometimes to just pop in and Shazam what music was coming out of my office. I hope you all know how important it was to me that you always felt at ease to come to my office, or stop me in the hall to chat or brainstorm.

Thank You for not rolling your eyes when I had a dumb idea. Uh, well, let me at least believe that....

Thank You for always making the environment at Vh1 an inclusive, welcoming, and honest place to work.

Thank You for pushing me, challenging me, and standing up for an idea that you believed in.

Thank You for ALWAYS bouncing back quickly after a difficult moment or time.

Thank You for laughing at my jokes. And thank you for making me laugh too.

Thank You for always treating Robin with the utmost respect that she deserved. She is not your typical executive assistant, she is much more than that, and thank you to those that got it...and her.

Thank you for not just listening to me or each other, but also hearing what was said.

Thank you for always presenting to me stellar pilots, live events, creative marketing plans, digital initiatives, basically for bringing to me some of the best creative output from EVERY department at VH1, so that I could be your champion and bring it to whatever platform it belonged on. I also want to acknowledge that the strategy would not be complete without the support of our music, press, scheduling, finance, research and BALA teams. Ultimately, together, we brought great content.

And finally, Thank You for letting me lead you every day from every aspect of the business. I did not take that task lightly or for granted. You all made it an amazing and wonderful experience to be here for the last several years.

And I truly mean this. Thank You.