After weeks of courting seasoned studio-runner Jim Gianopulos, Viacom is close to formally naming him the new Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, TheWrap has learned.
Gianopulos is “quite serious” about sewing up an agreement with Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, one individual familiar with the deal said.
Representatives for Viacom and Gianopulos did not return requests for comment.
Discussions stalled temporarily when Viacom tried to put caps on Gianopulos’ spending power for original productions, according to multiple reports, but it seems they’ve made it out the other side — and the former Fox Film chief will have greenlight power up to $100 million.
Gianopulos has been a moving target since he handed the reins of Fox to Stacey Snider last year — and was in early discussions with Dalian Wanda’s Legendary Entertainment to run that outfit and take an advisory role in the whole of the Chinese conglomerates interests in Hollywood.
At present, Paramount is being run by a committee of department heads under the supervision of Bakish. The committee includes Motion Picture President Marc Evans, Worldwide Distribution and Marketing President Megan Colligan, Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert and the studio’s digital and TV head Amy Powell.
TheWrap broke the story in mid-February that Brad Grey, Paramount’s CEO of 12 years, was stepping down on the heels of a public mandate from Bakish for improved financial performance at the “Transformers” studio.
Gianopulos started his career at Paramount before his early days on the Fox lot in international distribution. He was named Co-Chair of the filmed entertainment group in 2000 alongside now-Sony Pictures head Tom Rothman.
He assumed the sole title of Chairman and CEO in 2012, and oversaw production and rollout for titles across 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000.