Viacom

Trevor Noah to Visit Barack Obama in The White House for Daily Show Interview

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

As President Obama’s second term in office winds down, the appreciations and stock-taking of his legacy have been multiplying. One of the most recent was from our own BET, who saluted the 44th president with BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration last month.

The president will return to our airwaves next week, when he appears on The Daily Show with Trevor NoahThe show, which Noah will tape at the White House will air not only on Comedy Central, but also on MTV and BET. It will be Obama’s eighth appearance on The Daily Show, and his first since Noah began hosting last September.

It’s little surprise that the president would make Noah’s show part of his farewell tour, as the host has been surging behind critical praise during and after the recent election season, with large increases in ratings and digital traffic.

What will Obama and Noah discuss on Monday? Hard to say. But you can check out an extended version of the POTUS’ more memorable past appearances below:

Viacom Employees Celebrate Talent For Good

When four teams of Viacom employees convened with Viacommunity and various nonprofit organizations at company headquarters in Times Square, they welcomed the celebratory event as an opportunity to reflect back on their endeavors. Over the past few months, these handpicked groups of employees joined forces across the brands on Viacommunity Talent For Good projects, dedicating their time and skills to supporting the initiatives of causes that they care about. The four team projects explored a variety of pro-bono volunteer work. Whether it was providing a social media plan, creating a brochure, developing a communications strategy, or producing a promotional video, all of the groups made lasting connections with their nonprofit partners.

The four subsequent nonprofits – FIGMENT NYC, Musicians On Call, Unlocking Futures, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund – attended the Talent for Good team project event at Viacom headquarters. Viacommunity representative Alexandra Tuck and staff members from Catchafire kicked off the team wrap up event emphasizing Viacom’s unique cross-brand passion for volunteering and employee engagement.

Check out the video created for Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Name Change Project.

The event switched to an arena for the presentations that each group worked on. Teams discussed the various challenges, processes, and assets that they acquired throughout the course of their three to four month long projects. As a special treat, each corresponding nonprofit also had the chance to share their points of view and project experiences. Emotions ran strong as each nonprofit expressed its sincere gratitude to their Viacom team members, making the event a truly inspiring one.

Throughout the rest of the evening, the Viacom teams mingled, swapping anecdotes here and there about their project experiences. A common sentiment from many of the team members that night was that Talent For Good connected employees with others at Viacom that they normally do not get the chance to work with on a daily basis. In such a large company, it was refreshing to meet new peers and learn about the different work that goes into each department and brand. It was clear that not only did these close-knit partnerships create outlets for each employee to strengthen his or her skills to benefit great causes, but through these collaborative efforts, cross-brand friendships were forged as well.

Four Viacom Overachievers Make Cablefax List of Young Talent

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Cablefax recently laid out their annual tally of 100 Overachievers Under 30, and four Viacom employees made the list. This is a diverse and capable group. They line up social talent for marketing campaigns. They manage sprawling networks of digital and social channels. They coordinate programming strategies across linear and digital channels. They create custom co-branded campaigns for partners and networks.

And they are just getting started.

While they work across many of our networks and divisions – Epix, CMT, TV Land, and our Velocity in-house agency are all represented – a common thread of their workday seems to be the freedom to pursue creative solutions to novel challenges.

“I love the variety of campaigns I get to work on and the creative freedom I have to make each of them unique,” says Julie Feinerman, social media manager at Epix.

Each of the honorees was “excited,” “surprised,” “thrilled,” or “honored” to make the list, while pointing to the guidance of role models who helped them develop the work ethic and grit to achieve career success.

“My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire,” says Lauren Elias, a social talent coordinator for Viacom Velocity. “She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just getting the job done are keys to success.”

In addition to Feinerman and Zalkind, CMT’s Kate Warburton and Velocity’s Brian O’Toole also represent Viacom on the annual Cablefax list. They will be honored at a reception later this month. Scroll down to learn a bit more about each of these Viacom standouts.

Young Viacom talent frequently makes these industry lists, with several, including Elias, making Cynopsis’ Rising Stars roster earlier this year. Cablefax frequently mines the company’s deep talent pool when it sorts out the best in the industry, including its recent lists of top minorities and most powerful women in cable.

LAUREN ELIAS, SOCIAL TALENT COORDINATOR, VIACOM VELOCITY

Lauren EliasTenure: 4 years

What she does: Discovers, casts, and manages social talent for Velocity projects, integrated marketing campaigns, and more

What she loves most about her job at Viacom: I love discovering new talent that our brand partners and network executive are excited about.

Her reaction when she found out she was named as a Cablefax Overachiever: I was super excited. It was all the more reason to continue working hard toward my career goals.

What she is most looking forward to about the networking reception on Dec. 14: Meeting like-minded colleagues who feel proud about their work.

Can you point to a mentor or role model who helped you achieve success so young? My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, who continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire.

What specific advice did they give you that stuck with you? She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just “getting the job done” are keys to success. I also have to thank my current boss, Tom DeNapoli, who always supports me, always trusts me, always champions me, and always teaches me.

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Gen X Feminism, Kids in Africa, Dark Social in India, and Baby Product Consumers – Viacom International Insights

Christian Kurz by Christian Kurz, Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

International Insights Digest: November and December 2016

Our Viacom International Insights team recently compiled our latest consumer insights from around the world.

In this issue, we look at Gen X feminism, a Nickelodeon study on how kids in Nigeria and South Africa differ from their peers, why kids in India are using social media to protect their privacy, and how people shop for baby products around the world.

As always, please check out our insights blog, where you can find these stories and many more.

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Seven Years of Giving: The History Behind Viacom’s Give Back & Get Down Celebration

In the fall of 2010, Viacom’s Office of Global Inclusion started a new tradition—a holiday party that would bring employees together to celebrate the season of giving, by giving back to those in need.

Give Back & Get Down (GBGD) is the brainchild of Nickelodeon Digital Publishing Executive Assistant Tara Shaw and BET News Production Manager Renee Jackson, leaders of the BEAT (our employee resource group focused on the African-American experience).

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The inaugural celebration supported two vital causes.

City Harvest, the only food rescue program in New York City, collects excess food from restaurants and grocery stores—fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise be thrown out. Volunteers deliver this food to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, day cares and senior centers throughout the five boroughs.

Pajama Program, a national nonprofit, helps underprivileged children have a good night’s sleep. Cozy pajamas and bedtime story books are brought to kids in foster care or temporary shelters

Employees brought donations of pajamas and food to the party. While OGI members collected these items, Grammy-winning artist Miguel performed.

Seven years later, GBGD is our annual giving celebration. It embraces the Viacommunity spirit of making a positive social impact in areas where we work and live, and gives employees at premier entertainment brands the chance to let loose and celebrate a year of hard work.

Viacom has collected approximately 60 tons of donations since 2010.

 

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This year, we’ve partnered with Safe Horizons and Sanctuary for Families to support families and individuals impacted by domestic violence. GBGD VII is rapidly approaching, and donation boxes in our New York offices are filling up with toiletries.
Check back for a recap of GBGD VII on Dec. 7.

OGI Assistant Sarah Lee contributed to this article.

Younger, Workaholics, South Park Up for People’s Choice Awards

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

People’s Choice recently announced the nominees for the 43rd edition of the classic awards show, and four Viacom favorites are on the list. TV Land’s hit original series, Younger is up for favorite cable TV comedy, while Hilary Duff, who plays millennial Kelsey Peters on the show, is nominated as favorite cable TV actress. Comedy Central is represented as well, with Workaholics star Adam Devine up for favorite cable TV actor, and South Park – which is in the midst of a hugely popular 20th season – is up for favorite animated TV show.

Check out a preview of these fan faves below, and click through between now and Dec. 15 to vote. The 2017 People’s Choice Awards will air live from Los Angeles on CBS on Jan. 18, 2017.

FAVORITE CABLE TV COMEDY

YoungerTV Land – Vote for Younger here

FAVORITE CABLE TV ACTOR

Adam Devine – WorkaholicsComedy Central – Vote Adam here

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Nick’s Sarah Landy’s Bottom Line: Helping the Under-Served Find Their Way in Higher Education

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Sarah Landy has had a pretty great career so far.

Straight out of Skidmore College, she interned and assisted at Nickelodeon during the nascent days of the now-iconic Blues Clues, Several divisions and promotions later, she is vice president of preschool production and development, regularly flying out to collaborate with Nick’s animation teams in LA and partnering with production companies in Toronto, Vancouver and Dublin. The smash hit Blaze and the Monster Machines and the upcoming animated Butterbean’s Café are two shows she oversees as executive in charge.

As with any successful career, however, it began somewhere. And Landy traces that somewhere back to a network of counselors, relatives and mentors who supported her from a young age. Her parents set a life framework that all but guaranteed she would attend college. A sequence of advisors led her to choose Skidmore through an immersive college application and selection process. A college professor connected her with Dr. Alice Wilder, one of the head researchers behind Blues Clues and the person who helped Landy score her first internship.

Landy, left, with Alice Wilder, one of the head researchers behind Nickelodeon's hit show, Blues Clues.

Landy, left, with Alice Wilder, one of the head researchers behind Nickelodeon’s hit show, “Blues Clues.” Photo courtesy of Sarah Landy.

“I realize I had a lot of help along the way identifying what would be a good fit, guiding me through the application process, encouraging me to go visit – and I can’t imagine my life without it,” Landy recalls.

Unfortunately, not everyone receives such robust support. So when Bottom Line, an organization that helps low-income first-generation students get into and graduate from college, arrived in New York City from Boston five years ago, Landy knew immediately that she had found her cause.

“I have a passion for students and equal opportunity, and it felt like a really good match,” she said.

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What Kills More Americans Than Car Crashes or Guns? LISTEN for the Answer

Our nation is, without a doubt, in the midst of an addiction epidemic.

Nearly 21 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, making substance abuse as common as diabetes, and more prevalent than cancer. Drug overdoses killed more people in 2013 than car accidents and guns, and an alarming 1 in 7 people in the U.S. are now expected to develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives.

So how do we turn the tide against this crisis?

It starts with getting rid of people’s long-held misconceptions. For many, that means removing the shame synonymous with substance abuse.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, who today released the first-ever Surgeon General report on alcohol, drugs, and health, sums up the challenge this way: “We need to change the way we see addiction – not as a moral failing but as a chronic illness that we should approach with the same determination as we do diabetes, hearth disease, and cancer.”

This issue has touched the lives of tens of millions of Americans across the country. It’s the impetus behind MTV’s powerful documentary on opioid addiction, Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis.

And it’s why Viacom announced yesterday the launch of “LISTEN” an awareness campaign in partnership with non-profit Facing Addiction to break down the stigma of addiction, promote resources to help those struggling with substance use, and encourage people to approach America’s addiction crisis with empathy, not condemnation. As informed citizens, actively listening to others impacted by this disease is the first step toward progress.

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BET Leads With 5 of 10 Viacom Execs Named to Cablefax’s Most Powerful Women in Cable List

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

“You have women in these pages who have made it their mission to lift others up,” wrote Cablefax editor Amy Maclean in their November issue, which was dedicated to the most powerful women in cable. “Women who are pioneering technological innovation. Women who are shrewd negotiators. Women who are speaking up in boardrooms. Who knows… maybe one of the Most powerful Women in Cable will someday be elected to the most powerful office in the land.”

We are proud to note that 10 of those women – and three of the top 50 – work for Viacom. That half of these get-things-done executives come from BET, including CEO Debra Lee, is unsurprising, given that network’s reputation for recruiting women to direct some of its most important programs. Earlier this week, Essence wrote a salute to the outsized impact that black women show runners – including Being Mary Jane’s Erica Shelton Kodish – were having on the television landscape.

BET is hardly alone in celebrating women. CMT, whose senior vice president of operations, Suzanne Norman, made the list, recently launched its annual Next Women of Country to showcase the best new talent in a genre that remains male-dominated. Viacom hosts a resource group open to all employees that is committed to championing women’s interests, and the company regularly partners with organizations such as Safe Horizon and Joyful Heart Foundation that assist women in need and promote women’s rights.

Underscoring the diversity that powers Viacom, many of these women also appeared on Cablefax’s recent list of top minority executives: Lee, BET CMO and marketing executive vice president Vicky Free, and BET programming executive vice president Zola Mashariki. Two other BET executives – Maureen Guthman and Connie Orlando – made the adjacent “Influentials” list.

We congratulate these dedicated women and thank them for their tremendous contributions to Viacom’s ongoing success. Click through below to see why Cablefax chose each of these individuals as industry standouts.

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Viacom Ad Sales’ Greg Cantwell Leads the Stocking Stuffing Assembly Line for Manhattan’s Homeless

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Eleven years ago, Greg Cantwell had an idea.

It was Christmastime. Complaints rained around him, about the commercialization of Christmas, about the excess of presents.

So he asked himself, would anyone really care if he spent half as much on presents and put the other half toward something a little more worthy?

“I couldn’t think of anyone in my life who would care, so I thought, why not just do it?”

But where to put the resources? That wasn’t so hard, as it turned out. He’d been in New York a long time. He knew how difficult conditions were for homeless people, especially around the holidays.

So he and two friends met at his apartment, and they assembled a couple dozen Christmas stockings. They stuffed them with a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, cookies, gum, candy canes, a McDonald’s gift certificate, a five dollar bill.

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Cantwell, right, stuffing an enormous pile of stockings at his Brooklyn apartment with fellow Operation Santa Claus volunteers Carlos Gonzalez and Viacom employee Judi Sadon. Photo courtesy of Operation Santa Claus

Then they threaded their way through Manhattan’s East Village and handed the parcels out to the homeless. They hit Tomkins Square Park and Washington Square Park and Avenue A and anyplace else where they could find someone who could use a little extra.

“We were astonished, the reaction we got from people,” Cantwell, a client planning director for Viacom Ad Sales, recalls. “They were just not expecting it.”

Operation Santa Claus was born.

Cantwell has repeated the effort each year since, generally on the weekend before Christmas. Planning starts a minimum of two months in advance, with a Go Fund Me page and an email blast and social media posts.

As donations accumulate, Cantwell and “Chief Elf” Luisa Alves, who works in Spike’s inventory team, coordinate to determine how many stockings they can afford and what will go in each. A mammoth trip to Costco follows. They fill four or five shopping carts. Cantwell orders the gift cards in bulk from McDonald’s.

On the designated day, Cantwell invites everyone out to his Williamsburg home for a sangria party. A mammoth assembly line snakes through his two-bedroom apartment. Dozens of volunteers drop up to 50 items in each stocking. In 2015, they assembled 250. The goal for 2016 is 300.

It’s a novel project, a flourish of goodwill and selflessness that pushes back against the relentless commercial tide of the holiday season. People have noticed. A few years ago, NBC local news in New York featured Cantwell and Operation Santa Claus in a segment:

Each year, the event grows larger. Each year, Cantwell rouses the volunteers with a speech just before they disperse across the city.

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