Viacom Zeroing In on Jim Gianopulos to Run Paramount

HFPA Jim Gianopulos - H 2016
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The company is also interested in having veteran studio production executive Michael De Luca work under Gianopulos and head up the film division.

Viacom is actively courting former Fox chief Jim Gianopulos to run Paramount Pictures, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

When Brad Grey recently exited as chairman and CEO of Paramount, Gianopulos seemed an obvious choice to take the helm of the struggling studio, since he chaired 20th Century Fox Film for 16 years.

However, insiders have repeatedly cautioned that Gianopulos would have no interest in running Paramount if that meant having to work with some sort of a greenlight committee that would include Viacom CEO Bob Bakish and CFO Wade Davis, as has been suggested.

The fact that Viacom brass want Gianopulos indicates they would be willing to cede him a certain degree of autonomy. Gianopulos, who doesn't yet have a formal offer, would have oversight of all divisions, including television.

Further, Viacom is said to be interested in hiring veteran studio production executive and producer Michael De Luca to work under Gianopulos and head up the film operation. It is likely that De Luca would be given the title of vice chairman.

Bakish has met with a number of candidates for the top job at Paramount, including De Luca. Other names mentioned include Scott Stuber and Rob Friedman.

A Viacom spokesperson declined comment.

Gianopulos is also in talks to build Wanda's Legendary Entertainment into a full-fledged studio.