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Vanguard Awards Programmers, Cyma Zarghami

The NCTA this year is honoring Cyma Zarghami, president of Viacom’s Kids & Family Group, for innovation, leadership and individual achievement in programming.

Zarghami began her career at Viacom’s Nickelodeon in 1985 and rose through the company ranks, ascending to president of the Nickelodeon Group in 2006, assuming oversight for all of the brand’s creative and business operations.

In February of this year, Zarghami was named president of the newly formed Viacom Kids & Family Group, a portfolio of content brands that includes all of the linear, online, mobile and consumer-products divisions of Nickelodeon, TV Land and CMT.

During her years leading Nickelodeon, Zarghami has nurtured the continued growth and expansion of the brand in television and beyond while ensuring it has remained true to its primary mission of serving and being inclusive of all kids.

Under her leadership, the network has solidified its commitment to researching the newest generation of kids, post-millennials, and serving them on all platforms. In February 2013, Nickelodeon launched the Nick App, a branded mobile experience that allows kids to interact with Nick in unprecedented ways, offering them instant and on-demand access to a vast library of Nickelodeon-branded content; and new initiatives in sketch comedy to develop the programmer’s next generation of live-action stars.

“I have been very fortunate to spend my career working with the incredibly dedicated and talented people at Nickelodeon and Viacom,” she said. “Our industry is going through exciting and dynamic changes, and I am personally very energized by the opportunities it presents us to create great content for our audiences now and in the future.”

While Nickelodeon is still home to some of the most recognizable animated characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, Zarghami has commissioned an Animated Shorts Program in an effort to develop even more animation talent. She has also developed the deepest roster of live-action talent in Nickelodeon’s history and has introduced a new slate of shows for post-millennial kids and their families, including the new hits Bella and the Bulldogs, Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn, which join existing hits such as The Thundermans and Instant Mom. As an advocate for kids, Zarghami has expanded Nickelodeon’s pro-social leadership role as a key component of its brand identity. Under its award-winning “The Big Help” banner, Nickelodeon informs and empowers kids of all ages to connect with issues they have said are important to them and their families.

Zarghami lives with her family in New York City.

Fun Fact:

Zarghami was WICT’s 2006 Woman of the Year.