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Paramount TV Studios, CBS Studios Combine Casting Operations  

Paramount Global is consolidating the casting operation at its two TV studios.

Deborah Aquila, the head of casting at Paramount Television Studios, will add CBS Studios to her purview as well. The change comes as Meg Liberman, who has overseen casting at CBS Studios for the past 14 years, announced her retirement on Wednesday.

“I have really loved the last 14 years I’ve spent at CBS Studios for two important reasons: the people and the projects,” Liberman wrote in a note to CBS Studios staff (read it in full, below). “I have learned so much and it has been a privilege to work with such a truly talented and creative group of individuals, many of whom I consider friends for life.”

Liberman has worked in casting for more than 40 years. Prior to joining CBS Studios, she worked as a casting director on films and TV series ranging from Seinfeld to Band of Brothers. She has won three Emmy Awards and been nominated eight other times, and has 56 Artios Award nominations from the Casting Society of America.

With Liberman’s retirement, the two studios’ casting operations will be combined, PTVS president Nicole Clemens and CBS Studios president David Stapf noted in a memo (also below), with teams from both studios reporting to Aquila. She in turn reports to Clemens and Stapf.

Aquila has led casting at Paramount TV Studios for the past three years; her career includes 18 Artios Award nominations and wins for the feature films Coda and La La Land.

Here is the memo from Clemens and Stapf:

To The CBS Studios and PTVS Teams –

Hi everyone. As many of you know, Meg Liberman, who has headed casting at CBS Studios for the past 14 years, announced earlier today that she is retiring, capping an incredible 40-plus-year career in the business. 

Meg’s reputation, accomplishments and contributions to CBS Studios and the art of casting will long be remembered. We join all her colleagues in celebrating her career and wishing her a joyful and fulfilling next chapter.

With Meg leaving, we wanted to share with you our plans for the new casting structure. Deborah Aquila, who currently heads casting for PTVS, will become the singular head of casting for CBS Studios and Paramount TV Studios. Deb will report directly to both of us, and both Studios casting teams will report to Deb. She will assume oversight of the combined department this spring following a brief transition period with Meg.

Deb has led casting at PTVS since early in 2020, leading talent efforts on series such as The Offer, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, as well as the upcoming Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies and Fatal Attraction.

Deb also has a decorated and expansive casting career across film and television, working on such acclaimed projects as the Oscar-winning films Coda and La La Land, the Oscar-nominated films Sex, Lives and Videotape and The Shawshank Redemption, and hit television series such as Dexter and The Shield.

She has been nominated 18 times for the Artios Award by the Casting Society of America, winning for her work on Coda, La La Land and others.

Please join us in congratulating Deb on her newly expanded role at CBS Studios and PTVS and thanking Meg for the amazing legacy she leaves behind.

And Liberman’s note:

Dear CBS Studios Family,

As I look back on my 40-plus-year career in casting, I’ve decided that I’m ready to embark on my next adventure and will be retiring. While it’s never an easy decision to leave something you love, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together as a Studio.

My mother, Pat Harris, brought me into casting but it was her business partner, Marsha Kleinman, who inspired me to pursue it as a career. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I took to it so readily it was in the genes. My first office was at Paramount Studios, where we were responsible for casting five series, including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and CPO Sharkey starring Don Rickles. During these years, I absorbed everything like a sponge and learned quickly how critical casting is to the success of a show.

It’s also where I learned how important mentorship is in this business, thanks to Marsha Kleinman, who was both tough and brilliant. She set the standard of excellence I have tried to uphold. I’m grateful to everyone who saw potential in me, as I have seen it in so many aspiring casting directors whom I have been fortunate to work with and nurture my whole career.

I have really loved the last 14 years I’ve spent at CBS Studios for two important reasons: the people and the projects. I have learned so much and it has been a privilege to work with such a truly talented and creative group of individuals, many of whom I consider friends for life.

I also want to thank David Stapf for not only being the best boss I could imagine, but an always available sounding board and a voice of reason. I’ve never seen him lose his sense of humor or his temper, and I’m thankful for his leadership, creative instincts and kindness.

And finally, I’m grateful to the talented studio casting professionals with whom I have worked these past 14 years. I’m so proud of the work we have done and the casts we’ve assembled. Some of my favorite projects include Ghosts, The Good Fight, Unbelievable, Dead to Me, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, American Vandal, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Comey Rules, the NCIS and Star Trek franchises and the upcoming King Shaka and Dinner with the Parents. I know I am biased, but we have the best casting team in the business, and I expect that to continue long after I depart.

I will really miss you all, but am excited to change course and chill out, travel, indulge my love of art and explore all things that are not show business-related.

With love and thanks,

Meg

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