Viacom Restructures Nets Under Herzog, Zarghami

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman announced on Thursday that the company's cable networks would be restructured into two groups.

The Viacom Music and Entertainment Group will report to Doug Herzog. It will consist of MTV, MTV2, Logo, VH1, Comedy Central and Spike. Some of those networks had reported to Van Toffler, who announced plans to leave the company earlier this week.

The Viacom Kids and Family Group will report to Cyma Zarghami. It will be comprised of the Nickelodeon Group channels, plus TV Land, CMT and CMT Pure Country.

The reorganization is designed to help network share expertise, do more cross marketing and in some case, do cross-channel programming activity.

BET CEO Deborah Lee will continue to report directly to Dauman, as will Bob Bakish of Viacom International Media and Brad Grey of Paramount Pictures.

"Our industry is in transition and change does not always come easy, but we have a tremendous amount of talent at Viacom and we are innovating at every level and at every brand," Dauman said in a memo to staffers. "We are working hard to adapt to changing audience behavior, to incorporate new forms of distribution and to better integrate technology into everything we do. That includes our expanded data and research capabilities; our multi-platform, multi-distributor approach; our groundbreaking advertising sales units, Velocity and Echo; and our new central hub for digital research and development, The Viacom Lab. Just to name a few. I have great confidence that by working together to embrace the changing landscape and by continuing to bring our best creative work to audiences— we will succeed."

During its recent earnings call, Viacom said it would be restructuring. The restructuring is expected to include a round of job cuts.

Dauman said the move of TV Land to the Viacom Kids and Family Group will take place immediately. TV Land head Larry Jones is leaving the company.

He said other networks will transition between now and when Toffler departs in mid-April.

Dauman said that the TV Land and CMT move will be helped by being grouped with the Nickelodeon networks. "TV Land, which originated in this group, and features classic shows and new originals such as Younger, and CMT, which appeals to heartland audiences and includes major events like the CMT Music Awards, have talented teams and established brand presence.  Both will benefit from the expanded group's leadership in family programming that includes iconic live action and animated Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and TeenNick programs like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards," Dauman said in his memo.

"More information on specific organizational changes will come from Group leaders in coming weeks," Dauman said in his memo.

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.