ViacomCBS Launches Movies, Limited Series Unit

Meghan Hooper White - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS' Entertainment and Youth Group is leaning into its shift away from cable brands and into content.

To that end, the unit on Tuesday announced the formal launch of a new original movies and limited series arm and the hiring of A+E Networks' Meghan Hooper White to run the division.

With the larger goal to mine ViacomCBS' deep vault of IP and familiar franchises, Hooper White will look to create 100 new projects across the company's vast portfolio. She will look to produce films with the likes of CBS, Channel 5 and CBS All Access, with the streamer soon to be rebranded and updated to better service all of the company's cable brands.

“As we expand our scripted content with original movies and limited series, we’re excited to have Meghan at the helm,” said ViacomCBS' chief creative officer Nina L. Diaz. “Our shared commitment to cultivate underrepresented directors and showcase diverse voices both in front of and behind the camera makes her ideal for this new role."

Hooper White will begin her new role as executive vp and head of original movies and limited series on Monday and report to Diaz. Diaz reports directly to Chris McCarthy, who oversees ViacomCBS' Entertainment & Youth Studios group. McCarthy's massive purview includes MTV, VH1, Logo, CMT, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, TV Land and Smithsonian Channel. McCarthy, who reports directly to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, merged his four "branded groups" into one larger unified organization in the latest move designed to better position the company for the streaming era.

"This group has such momentum and I’m thrilled to be a part of the entrepreneurial spirit these iconic brands embody, enabling me to develop and build from the ground up while having access to ViacomCBS’ expansive library of beloved IP,” said Hooper White. “Chris and Nina have a forward-thinking approach on how to create and produce content, and I’m excited to dive in.”

Hooper White comes to ViacomCBS from A+E Networks, where she spent eight years and most recently served as senior vp original movies, co-productions and acquisitions for Lifetime Networks. During her run, she developed a slate of movies that included a series of telepics based on the books by V.C. Andrews, A Deadly Adoption and several others. Before that, Hooper White was director of program acquisitions at NBCUniversal, where she managed inventory for USA Network, including the Modern Family syndication pact. She previously had stints at Just Singer Entertainment, Disney Channel and CAA.

The news comes as ViacomCBS' cable brands are now functioning under one unified development team with Hooper White's division looking to mine its cable brands for new projects. Many scripted originals and late-night offerings have been scrapped in recent weeks as ViacomCBS seeks to own its originals rather than pay licensing fees for content that doesn't rate. Such is the same business model that broadcast networks, streamers and other cable brands have been following for years as the line between a hit and a miss becomes impossible to determine in the Peak TV era.