1:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
It's Official: Keith Cox to Lead Paramount Network and TV Land
Ahead of its planned 2018 launch, Paramount Network's executive team is starting to take shape.
As expected, TV Land officially announced that Keith Cox has taken on the expanded role of president of development and production at both the Viacom-owned cable network as well as Paramount Network.
In his new role, Cox will oversee strategic development and production of all series for both TV Land and Paramount Network — with the latter set to be rebranded from Spike TV in 2018. The new network will feature high-quality scripted and unscripted originals. Cox will report to TV Land, CMT and Spike TV president Kevin Kay, who made the announcement Tuesday. (Read Kay's memo to staff below.)
"Keith has done an incredible job in building TV Land’s slate of strong original scripted series over the last 10 years and reigniting the brand, and I’m thrilled to work with him as he continues to bring his strong creativity and unparalleled talent relationships to the Paramount Network,” Kay said.
The Paramount Network has been zeroed in on as the hub for scripted originals among the Viacom Global Entertainment Group, which includes Cox's TV Land as well as niche Viacom brand CMT. Spike president Kay was recently handed oversight of both TV Land and CMT as part of his charge of the group.
Said Cox: “I am so excited to have the privilege to help build a new premium channel from the ground up with The Paramount Network. It is an extraordinary opportunity to set a new bar for high-quality, character-driven content that resonates with audiences around the world.”
With Cox's new role, Spike TV's exec vp originals Sharon Levy has decided to step down following an 11-year run at the Viacom network. The exec outlined her exit earlier Tuesday in a heartfelt memo to staff.
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 six core Viacom brands that CEO Bob Bakish identified as part of Viacom's turnaround (Paramount, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.), 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. He was also instrumental in getting TV Land into the scripted landscape with multicamera comedy Hot in Cleveland, which ran for six seasons before selling in syndication to CBS Television Distribution.
Before joining TV Land, Cox served as exec vp comedy and alternative development at the former WB Network, where he oversaw a slate that included Beauty and the Geek and The Surreal Life. Before that, he worked at Greenblatt/Janollari as vp comedy and drama development and developed series including Six Feet Under, The Hughleys and Heat Vision and Jack. He started his career as director of programming during the early days at FX before moving to Warner Bros. Television, where he developed several of NBC's Must-See TV series.
Here's Kay's memo to staff: