Cyma Zarghami is the President of Viacom Inc’s (VIA.A and VIA.B) Nickelodeon Networks Group, overseeing all creative and business operations for the company. Now in its 33rd year, Nickelodeon is the world’s most widely distributed kids’ channel, with 50 channels reaching more than 350 million people in 25 languages.
A 28-year veteran of the company, Ms. Zarghami was named President in 2006. Reporting to Ms. Zarghami is a team of senior executives that represents Nickelodeon’s brand in all of its executions, including Original Animation Production; Original Live Action Production; Programming for all of its channels (Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite; NickToons, TeenNick and Nick Jr); Creative; Public Affairs; Marketing; Consumer Products; Communications; Advertising Sales; Business Development; Digital; Talent Relations and Research.
In leading this team, she has nurtured the continued growth and expansion of the Nickelodeon brand in television and beyond while ensuring it has remained true to its primary mission of serving and being inclusive of all kids. Under Ms. Zarghami’s leadership, Nickelodeon’s creative content has grown tremendously.
In preschool, Nickelodeon serves kids 2-5 and their parents with award-winning programs that appear both on Nickelodeon and on its commercial-free channel Nick Jr. Under Ms. Zarghami Nickelodeon has continued a legacy of producing content for television and online that is fun and smart, including Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Go Diego Go!, The Bubble Guppies, The Fresh Beat Band, Max and Ruby and more. Most recently she led a partnership with Warne Publishing and Silvergate Media to develop a new preschool series based on the iconic literary property Peter Rabbit. She most recently announced a new initiative to serve moms with a new TV programming block and website titled NickMom, which will serve contemporary moms with original comedy-based content.
Ms. Zarghami also leads Nickelodeon’s original animation team based in Burbank, California, home to the most popular kids’ animated show in history, SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as hits such as The Fairly Odd Parents, the upcoming Avatar: The Legend of Korra. She has also fostered a creative partnership with DreamWorks Animation that has resulted in the hit series The Penguins of Madagascar and the newly launched Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. Under Ms. Zarghami, Nickelodeon also acquired the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is being produced as a new CG animated series and feature film, and has launched the Nicktoons channel to serve boys specifically with high-powered animated series including Dragon Ball Z Kai, Voltron Force and Power Rangers Samurai.
In live action, Ms. Zarghami has developed the deepest roster of talent in Nickelodeon’s history through comedies such as iCarly, Victorious, Big Time Rush, House of Anubis and Supah Ninjas. She has also extended the Nickelodeon brand into music. Through its partnership with Sony Music, Nickelodeon has released soundtrack albums Victorious and Big Time Rush (certified gold), and in the fall of 2011 launched Big Time Rush’s second album “Elevate.” Big Time Rush has also already sold out a concert tour for a winter/spring tour for 2012. She extended Nickelodeon’s relationship with its older audience with the launch of TeenNick, which features shows from the vast Nickelodeon programming library, originals such as DeGrassi: The Next Generation and The HALO Awards. In 2011, Ms. Zarghami responded to requests by millions of fans for classic Nick programming from the 90s with The 90s Are All That!, a block featuring live-action and animated series from that decade.
Nickelodeon’s annual Kids’ Choice Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012, and under Ms. Zarghami’s leadership has become a must-attend celebrity A-list event attracting millions of viewers around the globe. Additionally, Nickelodeon continues to be the home of contemporary comedies for adults and their families through its Nick at Nite block, featuring series such as Friends, George Lopez and That 70s Show.
Ms. Zarghami has overseen Nickelodeon’s growth in digital and social media, where it continues to innovate and lead with virtual worlds (Monkey Quest and Pet Pet Park); gaming sites (Addicting Games), as well as Nick’s TV-based sites. Nickelodeon has also broken new ground in the use of its content with platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and in the launching of new mobile game applications.
As an advocate for kids, Ms. Zarghami has expanded Nickelodeon’s pro-social leadership role as a key component of its brand identity. Under its award-winning The Big Help banner, Nickelodeon informs and empowers kids of all ages to connect kids to issues they have said are important to them and their families. In 2011, Nickelodeon celebrated its eighth annual Worldwide Day of Play with an unprecedented live event at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., that featured appearances by The First Lady of the United States Michele Obama, top stars and athletes such as the NBA’s LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, and attracted more than 50,000 people.
Ms. Zarghami began her career with Nickelodeon in 1985. She lives with her family in New York City.