Viacom Inc. announced Aug. 21, 2006, that MTV and Nickelodeon will become full labels under the Paramount Motion Picture Group (PMPG) as part of a new structure designed to deepen their already successful track record with their core target audiences. The two former production companies, which had operated as on-lot producers, will now join several other labels under PMPG's umbrella, including Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.
"After successful 12-year stints as production companies at Paramount, we are going to upgrade MTV and Nick to full movie label status," said Tom Freston, Viacom president/ceo. "This will expand their role at Paramount, will better leverage their considerable talent and marketing capabilities, and will allow for smoother day to day management on the lot with strong connections back to the core brands. This move plays perfectly to our company's unique strengths and will surely increase the positive momentum"
"MTV and Nickelodeon are two of the strongest brands in entertainment reaching families and young adults," said Brad Grey, chairman/ceo, Paramount Pictures Corp. "We look forward to great films and a great future with these two new labels at the Paramount Motion Picture Group."
"In partnership with Paramount, this new model represents a great opportunity to build on the growing success we've experienced making movies over the last decade," said Judy McGrath, chairman/ceo of MTV Networks. "We believe that together we can take these brands to the next level, attract the best talent and material across genres, and really tap into our strong relationships with kid, teens, young adults and families around the globe."
Paramount and MTV Networks also named veteran producer Scott Aversano president of MTV Films and Nick Movies, giving him responsibility for film development, production and acquisitions for the two film labels. Aversano will work on the lot, reporting to Gail Berman, president, Paramount Pictures. On all image- and brand-related matters for these pictures, he will also report to Van Toffler, group president, MTV Networks Music Group, and Cyma Zarghami, president, Nickelodeon and MTV Networks Kids and Family Group.
Most recently an independent producer for Paramount Picture, Aversano spent more than seven years with producer Scott Rudin, most recently as president of production.
MTV Films and Nick Movies will continue to release films targeted to their respective demographics; with Nick Movies releasing animated and family films, and MTV Films focusing on comedies, documentaries, urban fare and horror films for teens and young adults.
Nick Movies, a leading kid and family theatrical brand, has produced a variety of live-action and animation features, including the recently released Jack Black comedy, NACHO LIBRE directed by Jared Hess (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) and CGI-animated film BARNYARD starring Kevin James and Courteney Cox, written and directed and produced by Steve Oedekerk (ACE VENTURA, NUTTY PROFESSOR).
Nick Movies is in pre-production on the THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. In December 2006, the label will release a live-action version of the classic children's book, CHARLOTTE'S WEB, starring Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey. Other releases include LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, starring Jim Carrey, and THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIES (both opened at $30 million), and THE RUGRATS MOVIE.
MTV Films has also established itself as a leading youth film brand, releasing more than 20 movies, including NAPOLEON DYNAMITE; ELECTION; THE LONGEST YARD; VARSITY BLUES; SAVE THE LAST DANCE; the Oscar-nominated documentaries, MURDERBALL; TUPAC: THE RESURRECTION, and the Oscar-winning musical drama, HUSTLE & FLOW. Upcoming releases include FREEDOM WRITERS, starring Hilary Swank; JACKASS: NUMBER 2, featuring Johnny Knoxville; and, with DreamWorks, the comedy, BLADES OF GLORY, featuring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder.
At Rudin, Aversano oversaw production on a variety of films, including FAILURE TO LAUNCH (producer), TEAM AMERICA (exec producer), LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (co-producer), THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (exec producer), THE SCHOOL OF ROCK (exec producer), CHANGING LANES (co-producer) and ORANGE COUNTY (producer).
Prior to joining Rudin, he was director of development at Paramount Pictures from 1997 through 1999, on 12 films and 75 development projects, including WONDER BOYS, SOUTH PARK, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD and RUNAWAY BRIDE.
Aversano started his career in the entertainment industry at Sid Ganis' Out of the Blue Ent. in 1996.
Paramount Pictures Corp., a unit of Viacom Inc, is a global entertainment company that produces and distributes filmed entertainment through the Paramount Motion Picture Group, which includes Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV Films and Nick Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Home Ent., Paramount Digital Ent., Paramount Studios and Worldwide Television Distribution.
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom, is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 120 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of digital services. MTV Networks connects with audiences through robust consumer products businesses and more than 100 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services, and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures and syndication deals, whereby its programming services can be seen worldwide.