This morning, ViacomCBS announced that George Cheeks has been named president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group, effective March 23.
Cheeks will succeed Joe Ianniello, currently chairman and acting CEO of CBS, who will be leaving the company.
Cheeks, who will report to ViacomCBS President/CEO Bob Bakish, has been expected to take on a senior role at the newly formed ViacomCBS since earlier this month, when he resigned as vice chairman of Comcast’s NBCUniversal Content Studios.
Cheeks will lead CBS-branded assets, including CBS Television Network, which includes CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports, CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Stations, and CBS’s first-run syndication business.
He will also work with the ViacomCBS digital organization on CBS-branded digital assets, including CBS All Access. Cheeks will report to Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS.
Cheeks left Viacom in 2012 to join NBCU. At NBC, he served as co-president of Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios and president of late-night programming, then as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment. He moved to vice chairman of the content studios last October, after Bonnie Hammer was put in charge of all broadcast and cable studio operations.
At Viacom, he had served as executive vice president of business affairs, general counsel of the Music and Entertainment Groups, content distribution and marketing, and head of standards and practices.
“Throughout his career, George has built broad experience in broadcast and studio operations and brings a unique mix of skills — combining deep commercial expertise and industry relationships with strong creative and programming capabilities," stated Bakish. "With his finger on the pulse of culture and change and his strong grasp of strategy, brands, audiences and content monetization, George will help CBS build on its position as the most-watched broadcast network and drive results across the entire CBS portfolio.”
Bakish continued: “I’m grateful to Joe for his many contributions to CBS and for the meaningful role he has played in bringing the CBS and Viacom teams together. Thanks in no small part to his efforts, the CBS brand has a strong and loyal following across a variety of platforms -- positioning it well for this important next chapter. The Board and I wish Joe every success in his future endeavors.”
George Cheeks said, "From news to sports to entertainment, CBS sets the standard, and I look forward to building on this tremendous foundation as we find new and innovative ways to deliver CBS to audiences worldwide.”
Bakish thanked Ianniello for his contributions to CBS, including having helped expand it into a global multiplatform premium content company.
Bakish previously served as COO, during which time he developed and spearheaded the CBS’s monetization strategy across platforms, including retransmission consent fees and reverse compensation from local television station affiliates, as well as the licensing of the CBS Corporation content around the world for digital streaming and broadband services. He also oversaw the launch of CBS All Access, CBS’ digital subscription VOD and live streaming service, and Showtime’s OTT streaming service.