Longtime Nickelodeon Programming Exec Marjorie Cohn Exits

Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon

Viacom says it is investigating why ratings at kids channel Nickelodeon were down 15 percent in total viewers in September compared with 2010 and nearly 17 percent for kids 6-11.

A 26-year veteran of Nickelodeon, Cohn was responsible for hits including "iCarly" and "Victorious."

Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s president of content development, is exiting the company. Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami broke the news in a companywide e-mail Monday.

Cohn, a 24-year veteran of Nickelodeon, is responsible for many of the network’s hits over the years, including the live-action series iCarly, starring Miranda Cosgrove, Big Time Rush, Victorious, Supah Ninjas and The Troop and BrainSurge. She also developed many animated favorites, including The Penguins of Madagascar and Fanboy and Chum Chum and also oversaw development and production for animated series Back at the Barnyard, Avatar: The Last Airbender, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and Tak and the Power of Juju.

In her e-mail, Zargami gave no explanation for Cohn’s departure. But Nickelodeon has been forced to reinvent itself amid an increasingly crowded kid's space where young consumers are platform-agnostic. Part of that reinvention has included the launch in February of the network's long-gestating app and the migration of its animated studios and many of its productions to Los Angeles. Cohn was based at Nickelodeon headquarters in New York.

All of her direct reports will now report to L.A.-based Russell Hicks, president of content development and production. Hicks also has restructured Nickelodeon Productions, eliminating executive vp Alison Dexter’s position.

“We have focused our attention on serving the first generation of postmillennial viewers with exciting new content, introduced an innovative new brand experience through our app and experienced new momentum in our ratings,” wrote Zarghami in the e-mail to colleagues.