ViacomCBS Names Top NBCUniversal Executive George Cheeks to Head CBS

Anne Chou

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ViacomCBS has named George Cheeks, previously the vice chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios, as president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group. He succeeds Joe Ianniello who was the interim chief executive before it merged with sister company Viacom Inc. in December.

When he joins the company on March 23, Cheeks will oversee all CBS-branded properties, including CBS Television Network, which encompasses CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports, CBS Television Studios, and CBS Television Stations. Cheeks will report to ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish.

His new role marks a return to the Viacom for Cheeks, who was executive vice president of business affairs and general counsel for Viacom Music and Entertainment Groups prior to joining NBCUniversal in 2012. Bakish said, “I am thrilled to welcome George back to the family at this exciting moment for ViacomCBS.”

Cheeks resigned from NBCUniversal earlier this month where he most recently served as vice chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios. Prior to that, he was the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment alongside Paul Telegdy, where he was jointly responsible for the network’s prime-time, late night and scripted daytime programming.

Ianniello leaves the company after more than 20 years at CBS. He became chief executive after then-CEO Les Moonves stepped down in September of 2018 in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal. Before that, he served as the company’s chief financial officer before being named chief operating officer in 2013.

Bakish said that he was grateful to Ianniello for “his many contributions to CBS and for the meaningful role he has played in bringing the CBS and Viacom teams together.”

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