Ex-AwesomenessTV chief joins Paramount

Brian Robbins

Brian Robbins

AwesomenessTV founder Brian Robbins as joined Paramount Pictures to lead a new youth-skewed division.

Robbins will run Paramount Players, which will be devoted to producing films derived from the Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET brands.

The move is the first major deal for Paramount since Fox veteran Jim Gianopulos became its chairman and CEO. Robbins will report to the Paramount chief when he joins later this month.

“Brian is a true creative force in the entertainment and digital media industries,” said Gianopulos. “We are fortunate to draw from his vast experience to launch a new production paradigm with Paramount Players, which embraces the studio’s history and DNA through its name, but will focus, in distinctive ways, on contemporary talent and properties for young audiences while drawing upon the vast resources of the Viacom brands.”

Robbins left AwesomenessTV, the teens-focused multichannel network that he co-founded, earlier this year.

Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish wants his company’s key brands to work more closely together and cross-promote, and Paramount Players’ establishments fits that strategy exactly.

His career has been largely focused on the kids and teens demographics, having produced shows such as The CW’s Smallville and Nickelodeon’s Kenan and Kel. He is also known as co-founder of Tollin/Robbins Productions and founder and president of Varsity Pictures.

While at AwesomenessTV, he produced shows such as Expelled, Guidance, Foursome, t@gged, Freakish and the recent theatrical release Before I Fall, and helped the company scored broadcast deals with the likes of ITV2 in the UK.

“In the past five years at Awesomeness I learned that new distribution has created so many more opportunities to find/watch content as a consumer and feed/market content as a creator,” said Robbins.

“But, at the end of the day, it’s still about the creative: making good films that people will show up to watch. From there you can build a brand that people will trust and care about. I can’t wait to disrupt the status quo with a new approach to filmmaking.

“It also feels really good to be reunited with my Nickelodeon and MTV families and to work with all my new colleagues.”

Last month, Paramount and the wider Hollywood production community were rocked when former Paramount chief Brad Grey unexpectedly died.