Television

ViacomCBS Cable Shakeup: David Nevins, Chris McCarthy Gain Channels, Kent Alterman Out

In another step toward integrating CBS and Viacom’s assets following the merger of the two entertainment entities earlier this year, CBS chief creative officer David Nevins is adding oversight of Viacom-owned BET Networks, while MTV/VH1 chief Chris McCarthy will take over Comedy Central, Paramount Network and other channels as longtime Comedy Central chief Kent Alterman and Viacom media networks COO Sarah Levy exit the company.

As part of the changes, head of Nickelodeon Brian Robbins is now assuming the title of president, kids and family entertainment at ViacomCBS. He will be reunited with AwesomenessTV, the company he founded, as it is being brought under his purview. These executive shifts come ahead of the close of the Viacom-CBS union, which is expected to happen as soon as early December and will be led by current Viacom chief Bob Bakish.

For Nevins, this marks an expansion of oversight. He was once the chairman of premium cabler Showtime before being elevated to his current position, and the news follows the move to put CBS ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross in charge of ad sales at a combined ViacomCBS, which Variety learned exclusively at the end of October.

He has thus far been responsible for programming, marketing and research at CBS Television Studios, CBS’ entertainment division and Showtime, among other properties. In addition to cablers BET and Showtime, Nevins also oversees Pop, but will hand off the reins of Smithsonian Channel to McCarthy, who will now also begin to steer TV Land.

Current BET president Scott Mills will continue to head the network, but will now report to Nevins. As part of the structural changes, Nevins will also oversee a new council designed to maximize programming assets across the combined company.

Additionally, Viacom Digital Studios head Kelly Day will now report to Marc DeBebevoise, who was recently named head of CBS Interactive, which includes subscription video-on-demand service CBS All Access.

Both Alterman and Levy will exit after the transaction closes in early December. During his time presiding over Comedy Central, Alterman developed some of the channels most highly regarded series, including “Broad City,” “Key & Peele” and “Inside Amy Schumer.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Ross, speaking to Variety in late October, had noted the new company’s efforts to unify, saying that “We will be organized. We will be strategic. And we will be speaking with one voice.”

(Pictured: David Nevins

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