Scannell Out at Nick

MTV Networks vice chairman and Nickelodeon Networks president Herb Scannell is leaving the Viacom Inc.-owned company, which will result in a new MTVN Kids and Family Group headed by Nickelodeon Television president Cyma Zarghami.

Under the new restructured division, TV Land, which previously operated under the Nickelodeon Networks brand, will join Spike TV and Comedy Central under the networks’ president, Doug Herzog.

Scannell, who spent nearly 20 years at MTV: Music Television and Nickelodeon, is leaving the company “to pursue other business opportunities,” according to a Nickelodeon spokesman.

Under his tenure, Nickelodeon became the most popular kids-targeted television brand. The network, which also includes Nick at Nite, has finished as the top-rated ad-supported network each year over the past decade.

Scannell also spearheaded the launch of Noggin/The N, Nicktoons and Nick GAS (Games and Sports), as well as the network’s broadband-video service, TurboNick.

“Herb and I have worked together for nearly two decades, and I’ve appreciated him as a creative and strategic thinker and, most important, as a friend,” MTVN chairman and CEO Judy McGrath said in a prepared statement. “He has guided Nickelodeon Networks to an unrivaled leadership position and has broadened its businesses to engage viewers beyond the TV screen in licensing, movies, recreation and much more. He is a true innovator, and he is leaving a great legacy for our company and the industry.”

Zarghami will assume leadership of a newly formed MTVN Kids and Family group, which will include Nickelodeon, NAN, Nick Online, Nick Movies, Noggin/The N, Nicktoons Television, Nick GAS and recently acquired kids’ Internet service Neopets (

NAN/TV Land president Larry Jones will report to both Zarghami and Herzog.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.