Paramount’s Kevin Chalk Is Getting L.A.’s Homeless Population Back on Their Feet

At 4:40 a.m., Paramount employee Kevin Chalk’s alarm goes off. He puts on running clothes and sneakers and is out the door in 30 minutes. He’s on his way to Los Angeles’s infamous skid row.

It’s certainly an odd choice for a morning jog. But Chalk is a volunteer at Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources.

Chalk’s morning itinerary is precise and consistent, much like the training regimen of a seasoned athlete. By 5:25, Chalk is driving past makeshift tents in the impoverished neighborhood. Skid row has the highest concentration of homelessness in the nation—in just one square mile, over 2,000 people live in squalor.

Chalk steps out of his car and is struck by the putrid odor of synthetic marijuana, or spice. Spice is a cheap (albeit potentially lethal) high, making homeless residents an easy target for dealers. The toxic stench grows stronger as Chalk walks towards the Mission. He weaves in between tarps draped over fences, derelict buildings and throngs of families and neighbors huddled beneath threadbare blankets.

Rap music blasts from set of speakers in one tent, while 70s soul blares from a car radio. It’s barely dawn. There are men, women, and children of all ages mingling in the streets amidst rats and tumbleweeds of trash.

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Skid Row in Los Angeles. Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Viacom CEO Bakish Outlines Long-Term Growth Strategy on CNBC

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Footage courtesy of CNBC.

Viacom will marshal its resources around six flagship networks: MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central, and Spike, which will be rebranded next year as a premium Paramount channel. Paramount Pictures will not be going anywhere; in fact, the flagship networks will join forces with the iconic studio to produce one or two co-branded films every single year. The company still claims the highest viewership of any cable family in the United States.

These were among the core messages that our CEO, Bob Bakish, delivered to David Farber on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street following release of the company’s first quarter 2017 earnings yesterday. Watch the full conversation above, and click over to Viacom Investor Relations to read the press release or listen to the earnings call.

These Charts Show Viacom Leading All Cable Families and Two Key Ratings Demos

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Once again, Viacom leads all cable families in total viewership, a full percentage point ahead of its nearest competitor. There’s a lot driving this continued strength, including Nick’s status as the king of kids’ programming, with 12 of the top 20 rated cable TV shows for kids between 2 and 11 airing on one of its networks. Viacom does well in all demos, though – several of our networks combine to make up fully half of the top 20 cable series for viewers 12 to 34.

The charts below spell out these viewership and ratings successes in more detail, but they show the company’s strong position as we report our Q1 2017 earnings today. For more business numbers, check out our Investor Relations page on viacom.com.

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Flip Through This Interactive Deck to See How Each Viacom Brand Killed It in Q1 2017

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

As we report our Q1 2017 earnings today, it’s fair to say that Viacom brands are killing it.

Behind smash hits such as Henry Danger, the Thundermans and The Loud House, Nickelodeon has spent 79 consecutive weeks at the top spot in its core demo.

South Parksharp and loud as ever in its 20th season, led all of TV in its time slot among male viewers, while Trevor Noah racked up his most-watched quarter since he joined The Daily Show behind his biting coverage of the presidential election and beyond.

BET’s Hip Hop Awards and Soul Train Awards were the top two cable award shows for the quarter.

We could go on, but it’s probably more fun for you to flip through the deck below to see what’s happening with all of our brands, from newly acquired Argentinian giant Telefe to Paramount Pictures to a surging MTV. We’ve also included clips from some of the upcoming projects we’re most excited about. For more business results, visit our Investor Relations page on viacom.com.

BET Sends Obama Family Out with a Flourish

With a flourish of pride and patriotism, BET celebrated Barack Obama’s eight-year run as president with an emotional send-off on his last day in office. Through the Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama followed a month-long series of BET documentaries and specials honoring the first couple and their many achievements.

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Artist in Residence Kip Omolade Talks Times Square Nostalgia, the Creative Process, and Who He’d Like to Paint Next

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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A row of diovadiova chrome self-portraits by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A wall of diovadiova chrome oil paintings by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A row of diovadiova chrome self-portraits by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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Kip discusses his work with Viacom employees at an event in an employee cafe. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A row of diovadiova chrome self-portraits by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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A diovadiova chrome oil painting by Kip Omalade displayed at 1515 Broadway. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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Kip and his wife, Diana at Viacom's Times Square headquarters. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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Kip discusses his work before Viacom employees at an event in an employee cafe. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

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Kip stands in front of his self-portrait at 1515 Broadway in New York City. Photo by Studio Brooke Read More

Have a seat in the lobby alcove of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, and you may get the feeling you’re being watched. There, arrayed along the high east and west walls, sit a series of painted faces rendered in striking metallic palettes. They seem to nudge through the canvas, as though a serene and curious person were trying to push through the wall. You can sit and look at them a good long while, absorbing the detailed reflections in the metallic sheen, the gentle wisdom in the quiet eyes, the immense depth etched with shading precise and detailed. The effect is something at once surreal and magnificently lifelike, so that you wouldn’t be terribly surprised if one of the faces struck up a conversation.

The oil paintings are the work of Kip Omolade, the final product of an artistic process he has dubbed “Diovadiova Chrome,” a Greco-Italian combination of “god” and “goddess.” He begins with a plaster imprint of a subject’s face, which he finishes with the various hues of paint. Working off this three-dimensional original, Omolade recreates the face in painted form, sometimes many times across many canvases, each flushed with different colors and shading. When he arranges these variations alongside one another, as he has done with a self-portrait along the east wall of 1515 Broadway, the result is an arresting tryptic that underscores how wildly a viewer’s understanding can swing according to an artist’s interpretation of a work.

This video stamps out the Diovadiova Chrome creative process, which can take months:

Omalade’s work is the latest in a multi-year Art at Viacom project, which has included work by geometric wunderkind Tahiti Pehrson, a cartoon-set-come-to-life encampment constructed by Australian duo Dabs Myla, a mammoth swirling sculpture erupting from our lobby walls by Crystal Wagner, a synthetic variegated meadow of yarn funneling above our elevator banks by street-art legend HOTTEA, and a massive ceiling-dangling floral display from artist Rebecca Louise Law.

The artist and his wife traveled into the city from New Jersey on a recent Thursday evening to discuss the installation with employees. I sat down with them in the Refresh Café an hour before the event. As day tilted toward evening and the volume of the music steadily increased around us, we talked a bit about the creation of this exhibit, what Omolade may be doing next, and how New York inspires him. 

Stuart Winchester: There are a lot of people represented in these paintings. Who are they?

Kip Omolade: So it’s my wife, Diana; Joyce, my sister-in-law; Michelle, who’s a friend of ours; DJ Kitty Cash; and Karen, who was one of our first pieces that I did that gained a lot of attention. There’s something about her face that people connected with. Fantasia’s The Definition Of… album cover is actually a version of that piece. It was Photoshopped to look more like Fantasia. I focused first on people that I loved, either my wife, or my sister-in-law, or friends that I know, and from then, people like Kitty Cash reached out, and I guess saw the process online, and we just went from there.
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It’s the Kids Turn to Vote as Nick Releases 2017 Kids’ Choice Award Nominees

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Hey kids, it’s your turn.

For about four years now, American adults have been obsessed with a presidential election that happens… every four years. And though Nick gave you the chance to have your say in that race, they decided that they won’t make you wait another four years to stamp another ballot – it’s time to cast your votes for the 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA).

The awards show will hit your screens on Saturday, March 11, but voting is already going on across 28 categories, including some pretty cool new ones, including “Favorite Frenemies,” “Most Wanted Pet,” and “#Squad.” Start voting right now by clicking here. Want more KCA? There’s plenty here.

You can preview all the categories and nominees below, then vote. WWE superstar John Cena will host the event from Los Angeles. We’re not ready to announce who else will be there yet, but we can promise this much: there will be slime.

While you’re at it, check out Cena’s top five reasons why he’s pumped up to host the awards:


Nominees and categories for Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (*new categories):

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BET Celebrates Black History Month With a Brilliant Nelson Mandela Biopic

It’s never felt more relevant to watch a film that brings truth to one of the world’s most stirring leaders.

On April 26, 1964, Nelson Mandela addressed the court in Rivona, South Africa.

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination,” said Nelson Mandela. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

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Helping Dreamers Dream Bigger at Viacom HQ

Viacommunity and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation joined forces recently at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters for a speed mentoring event, an invigorating and inspirational experience for a group of under-served students seeking career guidance.

Focusing on goals, Viacom employees from across the Sales, Production, Marketing and Graphic Design departments, among others, delivered career advice to college students affiliated with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, who are otherwise known as Dreamers.

Both the students and Viacom employees came equipped with positive spirit and energy. During several timed sessions, students rotated among tables organized by Viacom’s departments. Two employees were stationed at each table facing one Dreamer, providing an intimate setting that provoked thoughtful questions about job-search processes and career tracks. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour event, the room buzzed with motivational chatter, as conversations trickled on long after each timer expired. Viacom’s employees were eager to share personal anecdotes to show Dreamers that they too can pursue careers in the entertainment field and the students, in turn, left our offices energized and inspired.

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