With the season of giving in full swing, Viacom’s Office of Global Inclusion and its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) joined forces for the 6th annual Give Back & Get Down event at our Times Square headquarters. This gift giving initiative focused on education and improving literacy – encouraging employees from all corners of our New York offices to volunteer and donate books. Viacom employees and Nickelodeon in partnership with Random House collected 15,000 books for literacy organizations including: The Pajama Program, Books Through Bars, The Chris Canty Foundation, Literacy Inc. (LINC) and Jumpstart. Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman thanked the hundreds in attendance for their collaborative support and ushered in a celebratory, acoustic performance by pop star Alessia Cara singing her hit song “Here”.
Fast Company launched its first-ever Innovation Festival in New York City this fall with speakers that included Serena Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Aoki, Neil Blumenthal, Ava Duvernay and more. The event brought together trailblazers and extraordinary personalities for talks to spark conversation and inspire creativity.
A festival highlight was a keynote session with the creator and cast of the hit TV Land series, Younger. Hundreds lined up outside of NYU to take in the conversation. TV icon and Younger creator Darren Star took the stage with legendary costume designer Pat Field and actresses Hilary Duff and Debi Mazar to share a behind-the-scenes look at how the show is created and reveal the secrets behind the scene-stealing fashion.
Fast Company’s Nicole Laporte moderated this conversation, highlighting how Younger tackles the realities of pursuing your dream job, trying to make it, dating, ageism, feminism and more. The comedy has been lauded by critics and the show uniquely addresses the generational divide in the workplace with humor and fun. Set in New York and Brooklyn, Younger, with its fresh take on real issues, has multi-dimensional appeal and is swiftly winning over fans of all ages.
Creator Darren Star – who is no stranger to hit shows and has brought Sex and the City, 90210 and Melrose Place to TV –explained his creative process. “I start with the character and an idea” said Star. “Especially for a TV series, I want it to thematically say something about the time that we’re in and talk about the world.”
Younger follows 40-year-old Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a recently divorced mother that pretends to be in her 20s to re-enter the workplace. “I love this concept of a women who has to lie about her age to get back into the workforce,” said Star. “I know women who have been out of work for a while, raising their kids, and they go back to work and it’s not so easy.”
Star pours these real experiences into his characters, and it’s addictive to watch the charming and witty plot unfold. He admits that casting and chemistry are everything for a show, because the actors bring depth to the characters and make it believable.
“Darren’s a pro at many things like casting,” said Field. “When I read this script and here’s a 40-year- old woman and she’s going to be 25 and I’m like how am I going to do this? I’m a costume designer, I’m not a magician. Then I met Sutton Foster and thought this is perfect casting – she has an energy all her own that’s wide-eyed, a youthful energy inside of her.”
The show is a creative force from start to finish; from the smart script to the incredible cast to the amazing outfits Field imagines – fans can’t get enough.
“This is fun for me, people are watching for the clothes,” Star shared with a laugh. “The audience gets so much enjoyment from watching the actors and what they’re wearing. It’s another way to watch the show.”
On the panel, even Hillary Duff couldn’t hide her anticipation at discovering the upcoming plot twists. “I want to know what we’re doing next season,” she exclaimed. If you feel the same way, here’s a sneak peak of the next season, which debuts with a one-hour premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 13 on TV Land.
Get More: Younger Official TV Show Website
In addition to the Younger panel, attendees were treated to spots featuring creators and talent in the Viacom family discussing key themes like innovation, collaboration and driving culture throughout the weeklong festival. This video series, like the all-star Younger panel, will hopefully inspire the next generation of groundbreaking show-runners, writers and actors to tap into their own creativity, pursue their passions and innovate often.
“Data helps you make more intelligent decisions. Having great creative instincts remains at the core of what we’re doing. Data is just another tool that we’re going to use.” – Philippe Dauman at Variety’s Big Data Summit.
Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman drove home this message during Variety’s Big Data Summit, where he keynoted, following Variety’s cover story about Viacom’s big data efforts. He underscored how Viacom leverages data to enhance creative works and evolve audience measurement. The company’s growing data team continues to fuel innovation and pioneer advanced analytic tools that are now a must have in the marketplace.
Big Data took center stage at the Ad Age Data Conference in New York City. This meeting of the minds brought together leading data scientists and marketers from around the country to spotlight the powerful connection between analytics and marketing and how companies are using data in smarter ways to meet business needs. In a fireside chat with Ad Age Media Reporter Jeanine Poggi, Viacom’s Kern Schireson, executive vice president of Data Strategy and Consumer Intelligence, shared how the company leverages data to drive growth and how his team brings advanced data products to the marketplace.
Education has the power to break the cycle of poverty. Those words encourage the groundbreaking nonprofit She’s the First to fulfill its mission to sponsor scholarships for girls in low-income countries, helping them to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school.
The Ad Age Digital Conference in New York brought together dynamic leaders in advertising and marketing to talk candidly about doing business in this “post-digital” age. Viacom’s own Sarah Iooss, SVP for Partnerships and Client Strategy joined a panel titled “What’s Coming Next: Upfronts, New Fronts, Cannes and Beyond” with Kris Magel (Chief Investment Officer, Initiative), Laura Molen (EVP, Lifestyle Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal) and Peter Naylor (SVP, Sales, Hulu). They reflected on the evolution of the Upfronts and a variety of topics trending from the growth of big data to the impact of on-demand viewing and steaming to the influence of social media measurement.
Twenty years ago, at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, leaders from over 180 nations took a stand for equal rights for women globally. Then First Lady Hillary Clinton made the historic declaration that “Women’s rights are human rights.” Two decades later, the Gates Foundation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation joined forces on the No Ceilings project in an unprecedented data aggregation and analysis effort. They sought to measure the gains made for women and girls and the gaps that remain. The project recently released the “No Ceilings Full Participation Report,” an online collection of interactive and sharable information, visualizations, and four compelling short films produced by Viacom’s very own Scratch.
Ad Age just released its third annual 40 Under 40 list and Viacom Velocity’s very own SVP of Creative, Chris Carlson, made the cut. This top industry list names some of the brightest minds in media and marketing making significant contributions to shape the future of our business.
The Nickelodeon upfront audience was treated to a bit of industry humor with the debut of a short parody starring Benjamin Flores Jr. and Breanna Yde from the hit Nick series “The Haunted Hathaways.” While hanging out in the Viacom offices in Times Square, the curious child stars stumble upon the fictitious Counting for Dummies: A Comprehensive Guide to TV Measurement.
This week, BET premieres its first miniseries “The Book of Negroes,” a six-part historical drama based on Lawrence Hill’s acclaimed and best-selling novel of the same name. The miniseries event premiered on Monday and will wrap tonight, Feb. 18, starting at 8 p.m.