Dauman. Costolo. Sorrell. THE CANNES DEBATE 2014.

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Cannes Debate

Coming this summer to a theater near you.

If you happen to live on the French Riviera, anyway (and if you do, what are you doing spending your time on corporate blogs?)

If you don’t, however, and you won’t be at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next month, fret not.  Beginning today, public voting opens for which Cannes Lions sessions will be streamed live via YouTube.  The always spirited Cannes Debate, hosted annually by WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, is among them and will feature Twitter chief Dick Costolo and our very own Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom.  Read More

SEE YA, DOMA! Reactions From Across Viacom

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

The Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act was met with cheers and tears, hugs and high fives across Viacom.

When the ruling came down, several members of Emerge, Viacom’s LGBT employee affinity group, were in a breakfast meeting with Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s President and CEO.  Dauman regularly holds breakfast meetings with employee groups to discuss the company issues of the day, particularly in regards to diversity and inclusion.

We also caught up with several of those members of Emerge afterward for their reactions to today’s historic decision:

BrandonWhen we all heard the news this morning, the whole conference room cheered.  I know that we have a long way to go toward full marriage equality, but this was a very important milestone, and I am so proud of the community and those who have fought so hard.

– Brandon Grabowski, Senior Manager, Shopper Insights, Nickelodeon Research and co-chair of Emerge




Today is a fantastic day for the LGBT community.  So very happy for all my friends whose marriages will now be recognized on the federal level. This is a huge step in the right direction. I am also very proud that I am able to share this moment at work and have the ability to be so open about it since Viacom is such an inclusive work environment. Amazing day. 

– Michael Armstrong, Associate Producer, Ad Sales Production, Viacom Music Group, and co-chair of Emerge, pictured at left with Edie Windsor, the plaintiff who challenged the federal law





SHANNON_TRAVISThis is a truly exciting time for the LGBT community because now our marriages will be recognized nationally pushing us closer to equal rights!

– Shannon Travis, Manager, Content Distribution and Marketing





RickandMattYesterday my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary.  On our first anniversary, the NY state legislature voted to pass marriage equality.  This year, although a day after our anniversary, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional.  I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this time in history, and the dates of these significant landmarks in gay history will always share a special meaning to me and my husband.


-Matthew Vidal, Senior Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, Nickelodeon Digital Media, pictured above (left) with his husband Rick

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ICYMI: Willie Nelson and Neil Young Perform ‘Long May You Run’ on CMT Crossroads

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Get More:

And now, some Willie on this Wednesday morning to get you over the hump.

ICYMI, CMT Crossroads: Willie Nelson & Friends from Third Man Records aired Sunday night on CMT.  Nelson performed with a generation and genre-spanning collection of musicians, including Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson, Norah Jones, O Music Awards performer Ashley Monroe, Leon Russell and Neil Young, who joined Nelson for the Stills-Young classic ‘Long May You Run.”

Click above to watch the performance and here to watch the complete episode.

Jon Stewart Talks ‘Rosewater’ in Cairo

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

The New York Times reports that Jon Stewart made a surprise guest appearance last week on “Al Bernameg,” (translation: “The Program”), the influential Egyptian satirical news program whose host, Bassem Youssef, is often referred to as ‘Egypt’s Jon Stewart.’  The American Jon Stewart is in the Middle East this summer shooting his directorial debut, Rosewater.

Check out his full appearance below (the intro is in Arabic, but the interview is in English).  We love Jon’s movie directing sabbatical beard almost as much as we love the adoring reception he receives from the Cairo crowd.

18! Key & Peele Rank High Among Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Not too shabby at all.  Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele — stars of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele — have earned the number 18 spot on Fast Company‘s annual list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.  Regardless of what you think of listicles, reporter Joe Berkowitz’s cover story on  the duo contains some pretty awesome insights into their creative process.

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‘Breaking Bad’ Creator on SpongeBob: “…a character that is courageously nice.”

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

SpongeBob SquarePants: Passionate about chasing jellyfish.

Does the man who created Walter White, antihero of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” (with a heavy emphasis on the anti), think there’s room for nice guys in today’s television landscape?

Do animated sponges who live underwater count?

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Watch the Daily Show Clip Where President Obama Foreshadowed Decision to Share Drone Strike Memo with Congress

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Today’s New York Times includes a report on the Obama Administration’s decision to release to Congress classified Justice Department documents detailing the legal justification for killing American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.

The report notes that White House aides point to President Obama’s appearance last October on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (btw, New York Times, that’s the full name of the program) as the instance where the President had pledged to further share the legal framework for such decisions with Congress.

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Hulu and Viacom Expand Content Partnership

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Good news for fans of Viacom, Hulu, and innovative content distribution agreements dually supported by subscription and advertising revenue streams (because who doesn’t love those?).

Viacom and Hulu today announced an expansion of their partnership, meaning that users of the Hulu Plus subscription service can now watch recent live-action and animated episodes from Nickelodeon, and will gain access to programming from Tr3s in the coming months, too.  In addition, fans can continue to catch recent episodes of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” on Hulu.com (and in HD on Hulu Plus), and a selection of current and classic series from Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1, SPIKE, and TV Land on Hulu Plus.

You can read all about it in the official joint press release here, or in a post from our blogging brethren at Hulu here.

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Campeones, Campeones, Olé, Olé, Olé!

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Spain finished off the UEFA 2012 European Football Championship in typical dominating fashion on Sunday, beating Italy 4-0 to win its third consecutive major international tournament.

Among the many subplots of the dramatic international contest was a tale of two Viacom cities: the company’s Spanish HQ in Madrid and its World Design Studio in Milan.

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