Viacom announced that Cyma Zarghami, the long-time head of top kids network Nickelodeon, was stepping down and would be replaced on an interim basis by Sarah Levy, chief operating officer of Viacom Media Networks.
The move had been reported in February, but wasn’t confirmed officially at the time.
Nick has remained No. 1 but its ratings have been flat to down in an environment where parents are pulling the plug on cable and kids are more likely to entertain themselves online.
Zarghami joined Nickelodeon in 1985 and was named president in 2006.
“Over the course of her career, Cyma has played an integral role in growing Nickelodeon into the dominant force in kids’ entertainment. Her instincts for creating content and experiences that kids love have been vital to the brand’s success around the world,” said Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom.
“Looking to the future, we are excited to build on this strong foundation as we continue to evolve the business and connect with young audiences in new and innovative ways," Bakish added. "I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Cyma for her leadership and wish her every success.”
Viacom said that during the transition, Levy will work closely with Nickelodeon’s leadership team to manage the brand’s operations. Their focus will be to successfully launch more than 800 new episodes of original shows and accelerate the brand’s push into new and next-generation viewing platforms, film, live experiences and consumer products.