In January 2014, Viacom announced the formation of a new corporate entity to oversee program acquisition strategies across its portfolio of networks which include Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, Spike, TVLand, MTV, VH-1, CMT, BET and Centric. At that time, Barbara Zaneri, formerly executive vice president, program strategy, acquisitions and scheduling for Viacom’s BET and Centric networks, assumed the newly created corporate position of executive vice president of program acquisitions for Viacom Media Networks.
The year prior, Ms. Zaneri negotiated a deal for Viacom to license the hit series, SCANDAL, for BET which included the right to air in-season episodes eight days after they were broadcast on ABC.
Ms. Zaneri also brought the former C-W comedy, THE GAME, to BET in a deal that turned the series into basic cable’s #1 original sitcom.
Serving in her role for BET Networks since 2008, Zaneri oversaw the long-term planning and operations of TV’s two premiere African-American networks, while negotiating exclusive rights to major movie packages, off-network and first-run series for several Viacom brands.
Prior to joining BETN, Ms. Zaneri was president of Choice Entertainment, a strategy group that assisted media companies such as Comcast, NBCU, Cablevision and MGM with network launches and channel transitions. She has also held senior positions in broadcasting and cable for entertainment giants such as Viacom, Universal and Disney and is one of the few executives with broadcast, cable, programming and sales experience. Known for her creative negotiating skills, she has consummated many "first of its kind" transactions, including record-breaking deals for LAW & ORDER and C.S.I.
With a creative eye for what works across a variety of demographics, Zaneri has headed programming and development for several distinct brands. While consulting for Comcast’s M18-34 network, G4TV, she completed several surprise moves by acquiring COPS and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and greenlit the unknown Japanese game show, NINJA WARRIOR, which spawned NBC’s break-out hit, AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR.
Prior to that, Zaneri was recruited to lead the programming strategy for the transition of Viacom’s country-infused network TNN to the now broader-reaching SPIKE TV. As senior vice president, programming and acquisitions, Zaneri re-positioned the channel’s line-up in one year and maintained 32 months of consecutive viewership growth. At the time, she structured the network’s biggest movie franchise deal by creating an exclusive home for all JAMES BOND features which remain a staple on the network today.
Prior to SPIKE TV, Zaneri was head of program strategy for the USA Broadcast Group, launching six major market TV stations in one year and overseeing acquisitions, scheduling, operations, research, production and development.
Before that, Zaneri was the first vice-president of cable television for Universal Studios, where she was responsible for the sale of all series and movies to cable networks and broadcast groups, orchestrating the then-largest sale in TV history of LAW & ORDER to TNT.
She also served as Regional Sales Manager for the studio, selling first-run and off-network series to local broadcast stations throughout the western U.S. and as Program Director for Disney-owned KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.