Paramount Hires AwesomenessTV Founder Brian Robbins to Lead New Production Division

Paramount Players is new move toward Viacom synergy

AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins
Brian Robbins speaks during TheWrap's 6th Annual Grill Conference at Montage Beverly Hills on October 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

Paramount will launch a new production division called Paramount Players which will be run by former AwesomnessTV founder Brian Robbins, Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos announced Wednesday.

Robbins and his team will develop, produce and market distinctive feature films in conjunction with Viacom units such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET.

Robbins, who most recently served as the founder of digital media company AwesomenessTV, will serve as the President of Paramount Players, reporting to Gianopulos.

Robbins will work closely with the leaders of each Viacom brand to focus on properties to be developed by Paramount Players.

The co-branded films will be distributed and marketed through Paramount’s worldwide operations and will emphasize digital and social media campaigns enabled by the global reach of Viacom networks.

A good example of this synergy between TV and film is Paramount’s plan to turn the studio’s upcoming animated release “Amusement Park” into a TV series at Nickelodeon. The project has a voice cast that includes Mila Kunis, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Ken Jeong and Jeffrey Tambor.

“Brian is a true creative force in the entertainment and digital media industries,” said Gianopulos. “We are fortunate to draw from his vast experience to launch a new production paradigm with Paramount Players, which embraces the studio’s history and DNA through its name, but will focus, in distinctive ways, on contemporary talent and properties for young audiences while drawing upon the vast resources of the Viacom brands.”

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish gave a mandate for more synergy across the company brands — he was particularly burnt over former Comedy Central star Jordan Peele taking his phenomenon “Get Out” to Universal with Blumhouse — and this animated slate at Paramount is just the beginning.

Robbins co-founded Awesomeness with Joe Davola in 2012 and has also executive produced numerous television hits like “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill,” “All That” and “Kenan and Kel.” In the feature film spectrum, he has directed and/or produced Disney’s “Wild Hogs,” Paramount’s “Coach Carter,” “Hardball” and “Varsity Blues” as well as DreamWorks’ “Norbit.”