The game of musical chairs continues at Paramount.
On Tuesday, the company’s fast-rising TV boss Chris McCarthy and his chief research officer Colleen Fahey Rush announced via internal memo that Kim Lemon, Showtime’s evp of data strategy, research, scheduling and programming, would be exiting. In what it likely no surprise to those within, Lemon is being replaced by a longtime Viacom-turned-Paramount executive, Laurel Weir.
Commenting on Lemon’s 34-year tenure at Showtime, beginning as a manager of marketing research at the premium cable network, McCarthy and Rush wrote, “Throughout his tenure, Kim has played an integral role in Showtime’s evolution from a linear network to a bona fide streaming service, establishing a first-in-class data science group. He is a pioneer in brand strategy, always prioritizing our content and being mindful of how it would inform our growth while showing great reverence for the creative process and our audience’s feedback.”
As part of the shakeup, Weir, who serves as evp and head of programming and strategic insights & research at MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, will now add Showtime to her purview. The 20-plus year company vet will continue reporting to McCarthy (as it relates to programming and strategy) and Rush (on research). The news comes more than half a year after McCarthy assumed control of Showtime, and has folded what’s left of its executive team into his portfolio.
Below is the full memo to staff:
We wanted to share some news with you about our colleague and friend, Kim Lemon. After an incredible 34-year career at SHOWTIME, Kim has decided to embark on his next chapter.
Throughout his tenure, Kim has played an integral role in SHOWTIME’s evolution from a linear network to a bona fide streaming service, establishing a first-in-class data science group. He is a pioneer in brand strategy, always prioritizing our content and being mindful of how it would inform our growth while showing great reverence for the creative process and our audience’s feedback.
Starting as Manager of Marketing Research and working his way up to EVP of Data Strategy, Research, Scheduling, and Programming, Kim has been a vital part of SHOWTIME’s fabric, consistently striving to elevate the brand and make a cultural impact with our storytelling.
Although we are very sad to see him go, don’t worry, he will be around for some time to help with the transition and consult.
With Kim’s departure, we are excited to announce that Laurel Weir, EVP/Head of Programming and Strategic Insights & Research, MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, will be stepping in and expanding her purview to now include SHOWTIME where she will continue to dual report into Colleen and me Colleen on all things Research and me on the Programming/Strategy side.
A little bit about Laurel for those who may not know her yet she’s been a force at Viacom/Paramount for 20+ years, and her innovative research, strategic initiatives, dynamic programming and deep understanding of audience engagement have been instrumental in driving our success. In addition to leading the charge in fueling our linear-streaming ecosystem, maximizing our traditional business and consistently growing market share, her collaboration with our partners at Paramount+ and Pluto TV to accelerate streaming via our hit franchises has yielded record-breaking results across the portfolio.
Laurel has also established research collaborations with partners like Duke University and USC Annenberg School, delivering groundbreaking insights that have enabled us to build coalitions and create mission-driven movements in mental health and youth voter access. She’s a team first leader whose passion for our content is infectious.
A die-hard New York Giants fan who also finds time to coach her twin boys’ basketball team, Laurel’s enthusiasm for building culture and creating entertainment that brings people together is one of her many superpowers.
Please join us in thanking Kim for his incredible contributions to SHOWTIME and congratulating Laurel on her new role.
Chris & Colleen