Remembering Brad Grey

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Brad Grey, who led Viacom’s Paramount Pictures for a dozen years and left a rich legacy at the studio, passed away on Sunday evening following a battle with cancer. He was in his home in Holmby Hills, California with his family by his side. He was 59 years old.

“Brad Grey was an extraordinary talent with a passion and gift for storytelling that won’t be forgotten,” said Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish. “He has left an incredible legacy at Paramount and across the entire entertainment industry, from the beloved hit franchises he developed for both film and television, to the countless individuals he mentored and supported throughout his career. All of us at Viacom and Paramount mourn his passing, and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Grey’s commitment to delivering poignant, compelling stories to audiences around the world bolstered the 105-year-old studio’s deep library with films across many genres. Starting with the smash hit Transformers in 2007, Grey guided Paramount into the franchise era with the original Paranormal Activity and continuations of the classic Mission: Impossible and Star Trek series. The studio complemented these releases with a parade of must-see standalone films, including the cerebral Interstellar, the gripping World War Z, and the gonzo Wolf of Wall Street.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 27: Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Brad Grey attend the New York premiere of "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" at Times Square on July 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 27: Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Brad Grey attend the New York premiere of “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” at Times Square on July 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Aside from box office success – eight of Paramount’s 10 top-grossing films came over Grey’s tenure – this varied slate earned many accolades for the studio, including at least one Academy Awards Best Picture nominee in 11 of Grey’s 12 years. Most recently, Paramount earned a pair of Oscars in February: Viola Davis took Best Supporting Actress for her work in the widely hailed adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences, while the gorgeous Arrival earned the award for Sound Editing (both earned Best Picture nominations). At the 2008 Academy Awards, Paramount’s No Country for Old Men won four Oscars – Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.

 

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Paramount Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brad Grey (R) and Cassandra Grey attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Paramount Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brad Grey (R) and Cassandra Grey attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

 

“All of us at Paramount are deeply saddened by the news of Brad Grey’s passing,” said current Paramount Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos. “He was at the helm of the studio for over a decade and was responsible for so many of the studio’s most beloved films. I was proud to call Brad a friend, and one I greatly admired. He will be missed by us all, and left his mark on our industry and in our hearts.”

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Viacom Wins Eight Cynopsis Social Good Awards, Including Impact Honors for Its LISTEN Addiction Initiative

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Anchored by its stigma-crushing LISTEN addiction initiative, Viacom brands underscored the companywide commitment to social responsibility by earning seven honors at the Cynopsis Social Good Awards ceremony in New York City this morning.

LISTEN, which earned the Impact Campaign distinction, is a multi-dimensional campaign grounded in the belief that compassion and awareness are central elements to fighting the scourge of addiction. A partnership with Facing Addiction, LISTEN unites addiction-fighting resources with transformational video stories of individuals who have fought from nearly hopeless circumstances to become inspirations for those still struggling to find sobriety.

This video is just one in a series posted on heretolisten.com. A LISTEN special that aired across 11 Viacom networks has been viewed more than 2 million times and drove 38.1 million social impressions and more than 56,000 engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Debi Mazar, one of the stars of TV Land’s hit Younger, appeared alongside Niels Schuurmans, executive vice president of Viacom Velocity, to accept the award on the company’s behalf.

“I am so proud to see Viacom mobilize the voice and reach of its channels to take action in breaking down the shame and stigma around addiction and address it for what it is – a health issue,” Mazar said. “Media has the power to change hearts and minds. And LISTEN is doing that one story and conversation at a time.”

LISTEN also took top honors in the Branded Campaign for a TV Series or Special Programming category.

Logo earned a pair of honors. The network’s stirring Trailblazer Honors ceremony served as a tribute to victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre and took the Philanthropic/Human Rights Campaign category, while its Fill in the Blank push around Pride Month earned best Branded Campaign for a Digital or Mobile Platform.

BET Networks also took two categories. Its HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) Snapchat tour earned best Digital Media Campaign:


While the network’s understated Vote Your Voice spots earned top Hash Tag Promotion:

Viacom International Media Networks earned the last two honor, in the Public Service Announcement and Best Spot (30 Seconds or Less) categories, both for Nickelodeon’s Together for Good collaboration with UNICEF, which works to protect disadvantaged children around the world.

In addition to the Impact Award, Viacom received 44 total nominations across 21 categories and an impressive array of brands, including Nick Jr., Spike, Viacom International Media Networks, MTV, VH1, and our Viacom Velocity in-house agency.

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Slimed and Tested, NICKterns Alum Explains Why This Internship Is Tops in the Nation

Below the cover of the kitchen’s slime stairs, 25 interns stand around a 10-foot rectangular blue canvas waiting for the 10-gallon buckets of slime to arrive. Phones are in hand to capture the fulfillment of our elementary school dreams. One by one interns, ready to accept the green goo, plant themselves in the middle of the blue tarp. I grab my fellow classmates’ hands. All at once, the green concoction globs over my hair and drips down my face past the wide corners of my smile. The intern to my left raises his head, letting the slime fill the rims of his glasses. We’ve done it, I thought to myself – would I really have graduated the Nickelodeon internship program if I didn’t get slimed?

NICKterns Get Slimed from Viacom on Vimeo.

As a studio built on fostering creator-driven content, backed by a culture built on more than 25 years of animation (with a little bit of slime for good measure), it’s no surprise that Nickelodeon Studio has been a staple in children’s entertainment — and the internship program is no exception.

For the second year in a row, Vault.com, a professional website providing in-depth analyses of employee-company culture, has ranked Nickelodeon’s internship program as the Best Media & Telecom Internship in the country.

This 10-week program provides students and recent graduates with the individual attention needed to thrive in a professional studio. Workshops and informational lunches are designed specifically to match the interests of that semester’s class. Students have the opportunity to share their time with executives, show creators, writers, artists, former interns (or “NICKterns”), and everyone in between to better understand the full scope of the studio’s pipeline and different lines of the business. Those interested in pursuing a career in writing or art can also take a multitude of current series tests – essentially a challenge to see if they can create art or scripts that match a show’s exacting style – that will be reviewed by in-house industry professionals.

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Paramount Secures 23 Critics’ Choice Nominations, Led by Arrival, Fences

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount has stormed theaters this year with a slate of critically acclaimed films, from the cerebral alien invasion flick Arrival to the buoyant Florence Foster Jenkins to the explosively powerful Star Trek Beyond, with Martin Scorsese’s Silence dropping Dec. 23 and a highly anticipated reprisal of August Wilson’s Fences due on Christmas Day. With this sort of high-caliber film drumming regularly from the lot, it is no surprise that, when the Critics’ Choice Awards announced their 2016 nominations this week, Paramount secured a total of 23 nominations.

Arrival leads with 10 nominations, second only to La La Land and tied with Moonlight. Fences follows with six nominations, two for actor and director Denzel Washington. And fully half of the Best Sci-Fi/Horror nominations belong to Paramount, with 10 Cloverfield Lane, Arrival, and Star Trek Beyond all vying for the honors.

Check out all of Paramount’s nominations, as well as a peak at each film, below. The 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards air Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. on A&E.

Arrival – 10 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denis Villeneuve)
  • Best Actress (Amy Adams)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer)
  • Best Cinematography (Brandon Young)
  • Best Editing (Joe Walker)
  • Best Production Design (Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte, André Valade)
  • Best Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Fences – 6 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Actor (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson)
  • Best Acting Ensemble

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Viacom Congratulates Cablefax’s Top Minority Executives

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

When Cablefax: The Magazine turned its September issue over to acknowledge top minority executives in video and broadband, we were not surprised to see Viacom well represented. Our brands have long prided themselves on diversity, from behind-the-camera talent to programming to our board of directors. Such strong representation on Cablefax’s list is encouraging as we work toward an ever more diverse media and entertainment landscape.

“[The individuals included on these lists] are leaders in all facets of the industry – and what they have to say, which sometimes includes criticisms of cable’s diversity status – are all important pieces of the conversation,” writes the magazine’s editorial director, Amy Maclean.

Cablefax divided their honors up into several categories, and Viacom executives landed on two of them – Leaders and Influentials. A brief overview of each list, along with the names of our honored employees, is below. Viacom congratulates the individuals in each category and thanks them for their vital contributions to our success.

The Leaders  

From Cablefax: “Our salute to the industry’s top 100 minority executives”:

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13 Reasons Why Viacom Is an Awesome Place to Be a Mom

I wasn’t surprised to see that Viacom had made Working Mother’s list of 100 Best Companies for the sixth consecutive year. As the mother of two boys – Thomas, 11 months, and Timothy, 2 and a half – who has worked at Viacom for more than seven years, I have found so many reasons why it’s a great place to be a working mom. Here’s my list of benefits I have found useful as a mom:

1)      Flexibility

We aren’t always tied to our desks to get our work done. The company (at least in my department – Media and Technology Services), offers a lot of freedom in how we can get projects and tasks done. For the work that my team does, I can take calls with our team in India or London from home or in the office.

2)      Telecommuting

The ability to work from home during family emergencies has been invaluable. We have faced some health issues in my family lately, and the ability to telecommute has been a godsend. It gave me the opportunity to support my family in a way that I could not have done remotely, and our situation is much better now.

thao-with-family-824

The flexibility to work remotely when her family needs her most is crucial to Nguyen’s work-life balance. She is pictured here with her husband, Truc, and their sons Timothy, 2 and a half, and Thomas, 11 months.

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RuPaul Scores First Emmy as Viacom Posts Strong Showing Ahead of Primetime Event

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Who’s the greatest reality show host working today?

According to the Creative Arts Emmys, it’s Logo’s RuPaul Charles, who on Sunday accepted his first winged statuette from the Television Academy, for outstanding host of a reality or reality competition series. The ceremony, which was held in Los Angeles ahead of next week’s Primetime Emmy Awards, marked Charles’ first Emmy nomination after eight seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The host topped an impressive list of finalists in the category, including American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, Dancing With the Stars’ Tom Bergeron, Hollywood Game Night’s Jane Lynch, Little Big Shots’ Steve Harvey, and Project Runway’s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: RuPaul poses in the press room at the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards held at Microsoft Theater on September 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: RuPaul poses in the press room at the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards held at Microsoft Theater on September 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

“I really didn’t expect this,” Charles told The Hollywood Reporter backstage after receiving his award. “I came here thinking I got invited to the prom and I’m going to dance my ass off tonight, but i didn’t expect that I would have this in my hand while I was dancing. It’s a very special night not just for me but for all the young people around the world who dance to the beat of a different drummer.”

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Fast Company Ranks Viacom As a Top Destination for Those Seeking Work-Life Balance

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Sure, Viacom is a great place to work. The offices tend to be seated in thriving, energized urban hubs (New York! Los Angeles! Nashville! Miami! London! Amsterdam!). The aura of iconic franchises (South Park turns 20 this year), new hits that rumble through pop culture (my 8-year-old daughter cannot turn off Nickelodeon’s The Loud House), progressive programming (RuPaul just received his first Emmy nomination for his role as host of RuPaul’s Drag Race), and the mystique of Hollywood (Paramount’s century-old library continues to grow both through franchise expansion and compelling original ideas: Jack Reacher and Xander Cage are fighting back onscreen later this year, while films about alien landings and monster trucks present us with entirely new worlds) linger over the whole operation.

But it’s also a great place to live while working, which earned the company a top-five slot on Fast Company’s list of employers with the best work-life balance.

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