Brian Robbins, the head of Nickelodeon at ViacomCBS, will replace Jim Gianopulos as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, TheWrap has learned.
Robbins, the former star of the 1980s sitcom “Head of the Class” who founded AwesomenessTV, has earned a reputation for his youth-oriented content at Nickelodeon since he became president in 2018. He previously oversaw Paramount Players, which produced content for ViacomCBS cable networks like MTV, VH1 and BET.
Robbins will retain his daily oversight of Nick and kids and family content for Paramount+, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, the 69-year-old Gianopulos is expected to stay on and assist in the transition. Gianopulos took over at Paramount in 2017 after a lengthy stint at 20th Century Fox, where he was co-chair of filmed entertainment from 2000 to 2012 and was sole chairman until 2016.
Though Gianopulos took over Paramount at a time when the studio was at a low point at the box office, he was responsible for such box office hits as “A Quiet Place” ($340 million worldwide), “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” ($791 million) and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” ($195 million) as well as for launching the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise, which has a sequel in the works.
In 2019, he signed a multi-year renewal with the studio as Viacom was set to merge with CBS. In recent years, as streaming has become a greater priority and the COVID pandemic impacted both production and distribution, Gianopulos led the effort to license titles intended for theatrical release like “Coming 2 America,” “Without Remorse” and “The Tomorrow War” to Amazon Studios.
He also pushed for the 45-day theatrical window, which has applied to the release of “A Quiet Place – Part II” before it moved to Paramount+. But the studio has also shown a commitment to reserving big titles as theatrical exclusives, recently delaying the releases of two Tom Cruise blockbusters, “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun Maverick,” into 2022 in response to the spread of the Delta Variant.
ViacomCBS will be looking to Robbins to help compete in the streaming space and raise the stature of its service Paramount+ with a goal of producing more original content. For one, the studio recently released its Nickelodeon film “Paw Patrol: The Movie” simultaneously in theaters and on Paramount+.