11:41am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Keith Cox to Lead Development at Paramount Network; Spike's Sharon Levy to Exit
Weeks after announcing Spike TV would be rebranded as the Paramount Network, the Viacom-owned channel is firming up its executive structure.
TV Land president of development and production Keith Cox is expected to be tapped to lead development at the rebranded network, while Spike's longtime executive vp originals Sharon Levy is poised to exit the company following an 11-year run, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. A formal announcement is expected to come Tuesday.
Cox would serve as president of development and production at the Paramount Network as well as TV Land. His promotion arrives as Viacom CEO Bob Bakish identified six core Viacom units as part of the company's turnaround plan: Paramount Network, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. The Paramount Network has been zeroed in on as the hub for scripted originals among the Viacom Global Entertainment Group, which counts Cox's TV Land as well as niche Viacom brand CMT. Spike president Kevin Kay was recently handed oversight of both TV Land and CMT as part of his charge of the group.
Cox has been a well-liked rising star at Viacom, most recently adding oversight of TV Land following the Viacom restructuring that saw former network president Larry Jones exit the company. TV Land, while not one of the core Viacom brands, has been on a tear of late with its push into single-camera scripted fare following Sutton Foster starrer Younger. His upcoming comedies include a buzzy reboot of Heathers as well as Melissa McCarthy-produced comedy Nobodies, which scored a season-two pickup before its debut.
Levy, meanwhile, is an 11-year Spike veteran who oversaw franchises including Lip Sync Battle and the Ink Master franchise. She has been key in Spike's push to re-enter the scripted space with miniseries Tut as well as the forthcoming serialized dramas The Mist and Red Mars. Sources stress that it was Levy's decision to exit the company.
The Paramount Network, which is eyeing a 2018 launch, will focus on scripted — including both dramas and comedies — as well as documentaries, movies, sports and other tentpole events, Kay said in an internal memo announcing the change earlier this month.