Entertainment ViacomCBS International Studios Unveils 2020 Slate
Sarah Babineau To Depart Comedy Central Amid Executive Restructuring In Entertainment & Youth Unit
EXCLUSIVE: Another top Comedy Central executive is exiting in the fallout from the ViacomCBS merger. Sarah Babineau, Head of Comedy Central Content & Creative Enterprises, will be departing Comedy Central at the end of the year. The news comes two months after she was promoted to the high-level creative post within ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & YouthAs part of the post-merger integration at the new Entertainment & Youth division, run by Chris McCarthy, there will be a further consolidation of top creative executives under Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer for the entire group, I have learned.
Argentine Academy Award winner Juan José Campanella (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) is planning “Outlaw,” a reboot of El Zorro, inspired by his take on the historical figure behind the legend, Joaquín Murrieta, the director announced at an online presentation of Viacom International Studios 2020-21 slate.
Part of his first-look deal with Viacom International Studios, “Outlaw” will be “told with much more realism,” he added.
Campanella also announced further details of drama-thriller series “Los Enviados,” which looks like the first title to go before the cameras from his first-look deal with VIS, announced last May.
Sarah Babineau Departing Comedy Central as ViacomCBS Executive Shuffle Continues
The move comes only a few months after she was promoted to head of content and creative enterprises at the cable network.Babineau will leave Comedy Central at the end of the year. The announcement comes only three months after she was promoted to head of Comedy Central Content and Creative Enterprises, with oversight of content for the cable channel, CC Films, Comedy Central Productions, games and other businesses.
Led by Pierluigi Gazzolo, president, Studios and OTT, ViacomCBS Networks International, VIS top executives also used the presentation to announce renewals and deliver an update on a swathe of new titles announced over the last few months.
Murrieta is still portrayed by some sources as a petty horse thief. Campanella, however, is taking a different tack, framing the figure in a broader historical context.
“Murrieta enters in action when California, which was Mexican, is annexed as part of the U.S. [in 1848],” Campanella said.
He added: “Mexican citizens suddenly became foreigners, and begin to be pretty badly treated with punitive taxes and the expropriation of their lands. Murrieta was one of the first Mexicans to rebel against that. He became the first ‘terrorist,’ you might say, in the U.S.”
ViacomCBS Q1 Sales, Profit Dip On Lower Ad Revenue But Numbers Top Expectations, Stock Pops
ViacomCBS reported declines in revenue and profit for three months ended in March but its numbers beat expectations sending the stock up more than 10% in early trade. The company said revenue for its full quarter as a merged company dipped 6% to $6.7 billion. Diluted EPS from continuing operations fell to $0.82 a share from $3.15. Net income dropped 74% to $508 million from $1.9 billion. Last year included a tax benefit of $549 million. A strong point was domestic streaming and digital video revenue – including streaming subscription and digital video advertising revenue – which grew to $471 million, up 51% year-over-year.
“Outlaw” is written by Adrián Cruz.
Season 1 of “” will be set in a hamlet in Yucatán, Mexico. “As the saying goes, ‘small village, big hell,” Campanella said.
The series’ protagonists, two priests – one from Spain, the other from Mexico, both schooled in science, medicine and law – are dispatched around the world by the Vatican to investigate alleged miracles. “That can take them to pretty dangerous places,” Campanella said, describing the series as a crime investigation thriller with “mystic and fantasy elements, and highly challenging visuals and plot.”
In further news, VIS is teaming with The Mediapro Studio to produce Season 2 of tween telenovela “Club 57” for Nickelodeon Latin America, said Federico Cuervo, SVP and head of VIS Americas.
It has also renewed for a fifth season Nickelodeon teen soap “Spotlight,” set at a Berlin school of arts and produced by UFA Serial Drama, said Laura Abril, SVP, head of VIS EMEA.
Megan Hooper White to Head ViacomCBS’ New Original Movies, Limited Series Division
ViacomCBS has tapped A+E Networks veteran Megan Hooper White to lead its newly launched original movies and limited series division as executive vice president, where she is tasked with producing 100 films annually for the conglomerate’s various network brands, including MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT and the Smithsonian Channel. The move comes asThe move comes as ViacomCBS continues to integrate its many parts in the wake of the merger between Viacom and CBS, engaging in several rounds of layoffs. Last week, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish announced that streaming service CBS All Access would be rebranded to include more cable brands and library programming.
The new titles join a slate that reflects the robust rampup of production atin the space of just three years. In 2020, VIS will add more than 25 productions to its slate, making for 2,500 hours produced from its early 2018 launch. It has 45 projects in development, said Gazzolo.
To illustrate VIS’ breadth – in production and distribution – Cuervo screened a short promo of recent releases: One was black comedy “R,” produced by VIS and SVOD platform Claro Video, starring Mauricio Ochmann (“El Clon”) and debuting in Latin America on April 27 on Paramount Network and on May 7 on Claro Video.
“Ana,” by contrast, is a comedy-drama produced by Mexico’s Argos Comunicación and VIS, starring Ana de la Reguera as a semi-made-up version of herself, which premiered on April 20 on Comedy Central, while streaming on PantaYA for the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Bowing May 20 on Telefe, the Argentine broadcast network, and then on Argentine cable network Cablevision’s Flow SVOD service a day later, “Los internacionales,” also showcased, is a true-facts-based to-catch-a-thief thriller set largely in 2002 Argentina and starring Colombia’s Juan Pablo Shuk and Argentina’s Cecilia Roth.
ViacomCBS Reveals Scope Of New York Layoffs In State Filing
An updated New York State filing by ViacomCBS provided clarity on job losses across the company’s New York locations, detailing a total of 450 positions that have been eliminated. The company first filed with the State on Jan. 15 and noted in an April 29 update that layoffs will impact an additional 333 non-union employees at several ViacomCBS sites in New York City. “Employee separation began on April 15, 2020 and has been extended from June 30, 2020 to now will continue until September 30,2020,” the filing said. It said the reason for the dislocation was “economic.” The biggest hit was to Viacom International, with 271 affected employees.
Also featured in the promo reel, “Homens?” from Brazilian online comedy troupe Porta Dos Fundos, satirizes contemporary male 30something crisis. It first aired on March 18 on Brazil’s Comedy Central, then on Amazon Prime Video.
From Spain, Abril screened a teaser trailer of sentimental dramedy “El día menos pensado,” about a group of people from all walks of life – even Mexico in the case of a down-on-his-luck musician played by Alfonso Herrera, whose featured scene delivered the biggest laugh of the whole VIS presentation – who resort to group therapy to get over the death of their partners. “Elite” producer Zeta Studios will co-produce.
Brief though the videos were, they nail much of VIS’ DNA. Almost all the shows are co-productions, near always with premiere production companies in Latin America and Spain. The series are made by or frame some of the biggest talents and stars in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world; they boast a myriad distribution outlets.
As Guillermo Borensztein, VIS Americas VP of sales contents and co-production, commented, analyzing VIS strategy, VIS has made over 20 co-productions in the last two years and has the “power to define the commercial cycle of contents, whether releasing on our platforms, distributing with third-parties, or on third-party platforms.”
’68 Whiskey’: Paramount Network Series Heads To CBS All Access
CBS All Access has added more content from the ViacomCBS family with Paramount Network’s popular series 68 Whiskey. All 10 episodes of the comedic drama are now available on the streaming service. Based on the Israeli television series Charlie Golf One, 68 Whiskey premiered on Jan. 15 on the Paramount Network, breaking a new record as the most-watched cable drama series premiere in over a year in Nielsen live+3. Created by Roberto Benabib, the series follows a multicultural band of Army medics stationed in Afghanistan on a base nicknamed “The Orphanage.
ViacomCBS’ shares jumped early May after first-quarter results announcement on the back of growth in streaming and an expanded carriage deal with YouTube TV.
VIS’ strategy going forward looks, however, to reflect the strategic priorities which ViacomCBS outlined in its February earnings report: Accelerating streaming momentum; “maximizing the power of content;” increasing revenues in distribution, ad sales and content licensing.
Going forward, Borensztein said on Friday, VIS will look to penetrate new territories, such as Africa; continue the sale of formats for U.S. re-versioning, such as YA sci-fi thriller “Dani Who?” to Nickelodeon; and explore new lines of business.
VIS already has its pedal to the metal in Spanish-language content production, Friday’s presentation suggested.
Abril said VIS EMEA had a “multitude of projects in development” and showrunners would soon be announced on a bio-series of Spanish boxer Poli Díaz and on a small-screen adaptation of best-selling Spanish novel “La novia gitana,” produced with Endemol Shine’s Spanish production house Diagonal TV.
Cuervo added that half-hour series “Mentiras pasajeras” was advancing in development with Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar’s El Deseo; and Viacom would soon confirm new series makeovers of classic Paramount movie titles in the wake of the success of “To Catch a Thief.”
Sign up for. For the latest news, follow us on , , and .
ViacomCBS Global Distribution Shake-Up: Dan Cohen to Succeed Armando Nuñez .
Nuñez will transition to an advisory role after helping build CBS' global distribution business for over two decades.Nuñez, who previously transformed CBS Studios International into a worldwide distribution leader before the merger of the network with Viacom, will shift into an advisory role.