Merger of international divisions leaves King World and Paramount syndication operations intact
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/15/2004 8:00:00 PM
Leslie Moonves has made his first big move as co-president of Viacom. Last week, he combined the international divisions of CBS and Paramount under Armando Nunez, who takes over as president of CBS Paramount International Television.
Many industry observers had predicted an even bigger merger of CBS and Paramount's TV operations: combining King World and Paramount Domestic Television. The announcement assures both syndication operations of their places in Viacom's vast corporate structure.
Between them, King World and Paramount distribute six of syndication's top 10 programs and 10 of the top 20. Among them:The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, Judge Judy, Everybody Loves Raymond, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
"They are two of the most successful operations in America right now," Moonves says of his properties. "To combine them would be counterproductive."
In fact, having two sales forces focused on selling three or four top-rated shows brings in more revenue than having one sales force split between eight shows. King is renowned for selling only one show at time, intent on creating the best possible deals for that show. Two weeks ago, it reupped No. 1 client Oprah Winfrey through 2011.
In his new position, Nunez and his team are charged with selling, marketing and distributing Paramount's syndicated product and feature films internationally across all platforms, including satellite, pay-cable, pay-per-view and video-on-demand. Nunez already oversees those functions for King World and CBS Enterprises.
"We are putting together a diverse and sometimes legendary slate of programming," he says. "It gives us a better ability and wider resources to maximize our revenue potential."
Nunez, who has spent his entire career in international television, absorbs the position of Paramount's outgoing Gary Marenzi. He will report to both Roger King, CEO of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions, and Joel Berman, president of Paramount Worldwide Television Distribution.
Paramount is also busy launching The Insider, a spinoff of ET. The Insider is cleared in coveted timeslots, blocking the path for any new entries in access for years to come.
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