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New Paramount Chairman and CEO Suggests Big Changes for Paramount+

Ben Bowman

Brian Robbins is set to become Paramount Pictures’ new Chairman and CEO, and that move is expected to mean big things for Paramount+.

Robbins has a fascinating background. He was one of the original cast members of “Head of the Class,” but he pivoted from acting and rose up the producing ranks to lead Nickelodeon for ViacomCBS. He was also the founder of AwesomenessTV, a teen-focused streaming service that ViacomCBS acquired in 2018.

In October, ViacomCBS made the Co-Founder and CEO of Pluto TV their new President and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming. The company restructured its leadership again to prioritize streaming in June, and Robbins gained additional power in regard to Paramount+. Robbins approved the “Paw Patrol” movie, which performed well at the box office, despite debuting on Paramount+ at the same time.

Given Robbins’ success with reviving Nickelodeon franchises, insiders expect that he may pivot the company away from a theatrical-heavy slate to a less expensive, broader streaming push. That would be a win for Paramount+ subscribers who haven’t had many direct-to-streaming exclusives worth celebrating. The studio’s big picture tentpoles have been bumped over and over again in response to COVID-19.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in July, Robbins said, “At the beginning of the pandemic, Bob Bakish, myself, George Cheeks, David Nevins, Chris McCarthy, and Jim Gianopulos dove in as the Paramount+ launch was looming. We’ve been working on the streaming strategy for well over a year now,” Robbins said. “But now with a global eye, it does change the eye that we had when we were only thinking linear first.”

As additional young adult content is created for linear and streaming, Robbins plans to keep diversity and inclusion in mind. “Half the audience is diverse. If you’re not serving the whole audience that just doesn’t make great business sense. And it’s the right thing to do, internally and externally,” he said. “We’re very focused on it, on the live-action side, whether it’s our relationship with Tyler Perry, who makes the show Young Dylan for us, or our new show that’s going to launch in September called That Girl Lay Lay starring a young girl who’s a rapper and social media star named Lay Lay and that’s being produced by Will Packer.”

Robbins previously developed Netflix’s “To All the Boys” franchise, Hulu’s “PEN15,” The CW’s “Smallville” and the MTV movie “Varsity Blues.”

In its last quarterly earnings report, ViacomCBS said it added 6.5 million global streaming subscribers with a total of 42 million subscribers worldwide, to all its streaming services, with Paramount+ driving the most growth. At an investor day earlier this year, ViacomCBS said it hoped to be at 65 million to 75 million global streaming subscribers by 2024.

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