Viacom Inc. announced that MTV and Nickelodeon will become full labels under the Paramount Motion Picture Group (PMPG) as part of a new structure designed to deepen their already successful track record with their core target audiences. The two former production companies, which previously operated as on-lot producers, will now join several other labels under PMPG's umbrella, including Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.
"After successful 12-year stints as production companies at Paramount, we are going to upgrade MTV and Nick to full movie label status," said Tom Freston, Viacom President and CEO. "This will expand their role at Paramount, will better leverage their considerable talent and marketing capabilities, and will allow for smoother day to day management on the lot with strong connections back to the core brands. This move plays perfectly to our company's unique strengths and will surely increase the positive momentum that we're seeing at Paramount under the leadership of Brad and his team."
"MTV and Nickelodeon are two of the strongest brands in entertainment reaching families and young adults," said Brad Grey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Paramount Pictures Corporation. "We look forward to great films and a great future with these two new labels at the Paramount Motion Picture Group."
"In partnership with Paramount, this new model represents a great opportunity to build on the growing success we've experienced making movies over the last decade," said Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. "We believe that together we can take these brands to the next level, attract the best talent and material across genres, and really tap into our strong relationships with kid, teens, young adults and families around the globe."
Additionally, Paramount and MTV Networks today named veteran producer Scott Aversano President of MTV Films and Nick Movies, giving him responsibility for film development, production and acquisitions for the two film labels. Aversano will work on the lot, reporting to Gail Berman, President, Paramount Pictures. On all image- and brand-related matters for these pictures, he will also report to Van Toffler, Group President, MTV Networks Music Group, and Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon and MTV Networks Kids and Family Group.
Aversano will assume his new position effective immediately, transitioning from his current role as an independent producer for Paramount Pictures. Prior to his producing deal with Paramount Pictures, Aversano spent more than seven years with producer Scott Rudin, most recently as President of Production.
"MTV and Nickelodeon are household names with audiences in every corner of the world," said Aversano. "I'm excited to embark on this new challenge to continue bringing movies to the marketplace that utilize Viacom's unique strengths in targeted demographics."
MTV Films and Nick Movies will continue to release films targeted to their respective demographics; with Nick Movies releasing animated and family films, and MTV Films focusing on comedies, documentaries, urban fare and horror films for teens and young adults.
Nick Movies has firmly established itself as a leading kid and family theatrical brand, producing a variety of live-action and animation features including the recently released Jack Black comedy, NACHO LIBRE directed by Jared Hess (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) and CGI-animated film "BARNYARD" starring Kevin James and Courteney Cox, written and directed and produced by Steve Oedekerk ("ACE VENTURA," "NUTTY PROFESSOR").
Nick Movies is currently in pre-production on the THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. In December 2006, the label will release a live-action version of the classic children's book, "CHARLOTTE'S WEB" starring Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey. Other releases include "LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS," starring Jim Carrey, and "THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIES" (both opened at $30 million), and THE RUGRATS MOVIE.
MTV Films has also established itself as a leading youth film brand by releasing over 20 movies, including NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, ELECTION, THE LONGEST YARD, VARSITY BLUES, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, the Oscar-nominated documentaries, MURDERBALL, "TUPAC: THE RESURRECTION," and the Oscar-winning musical drama, HUSTLE & FLOW. Upcoming releases include FREEDOM WRITERS, starring Hilary Swank, "JACKASS: NUMBER 2," featuring Johnny Knoxville, and with DreamWorks, the comedy, "BLADES OF GLORY," featuring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder.