6:24pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Viacom Expands Sarah Levy's Role to Include Nickelodeon and BET
Viacom is widening Sarah Levy's role.
As the COO of the media giant's global entertainment group, Levy has had oversight of operations and strategy of MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, CMT, TV Land, Logo and Viacom International Media Networks. Now, Viacom president and CEO Robert Bakish has extended that oversight to include Nickelodeon and BET as well, two networks that were previously not under Levy's in purview.
Amid the changes, Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami, who has been head of the kid's television network since 2006, will remain in her post and will continue to report directly to Bakish. Nickelodeon and BET declined to comment.
While Zarghami is nearing the end of her contract, sources say the 32-year Nickelodeon vet has no plans to leave the network. Still, her role has been slimmed down in recent years. In February, Bakish took TV Land and CMT out of Zarghami's Kids and Family Group and moved them to Kevin Kay's Global Entertainment Group.
It's been a little over a year since Bakish took over the Viacom suite and started a massive executive shuffle. Among the moves: Chris McCarthy took over MTV, VH1, LOGO; Debra Lee shifted to become chairman and CEO of BET, while Scott M. Mills took over as president; and Kent Alterman replaced Michele Ganeless as president of Comedy Central.
Nickelodeon, for its part, has been one of the company's most stable brands; this past year the network ratings were flat, while competitor Disney Channel saw a 24 percent drop in viewers in 2017. Meanwhile, BET remains the No. 1 network for African-American audiences.
News of the exec shakeup was first reported Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal.