Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami Steps Down
Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon Group, is stepping down after 30 years at the network. Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Media Networks Sarah Levy will take over on an interim basis. The announcement comes just two weeks after fellow Viacom vet, Debra Lee, announced her departure from BET Networks as President. The Iranian-born 55-year-old joined Nickelodeon in 1985 as a scheduling clerk. From then on, she played an integral role in the launch of Nickelodeon UK and Nick at Nite's TV Land launch. Zarghami became EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon in 1996, overseeing programming, scheduling, acquisitions, marketing, and day-to-day management of the network, before being tapped to lead the network as President in 2006. Nickelodeon is the most successful of Viacom’s cable channels, generating $2.1 billion in 2017 in revenue from advertising and distribution fees, and cash flow of more than $1 billion. However, the channel is not without challenges. Its ratings among children ages to two to 11 are down about 25% compared with a year ago, according to Nielsen. Changing media-consumption habits and the growth of streaming-video services has taken a chunk of viewers away. Viacom did not speak on the reason behind Zarghami’s exit, but she is the latest exec ushered out by Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish, who has replaced nearly every top programming head at the company. More here.