Paramount President Maria Kyriacou Exits Amid International Originals Scale-Back

Maria Kyriacou, Paramount Global’s president of broadcast and studios on the international markets side, is exiting the company, TheWrap has learned. This change comes as Paramount scales down its international originals offerings to focus more on originals from the U.S. market.

The news was broken to staff in a memo sent by Paramount international boss Pam Kaufman and CBS CEO George Cheeks and aligns with the company’s shifting 2024 strategy. Moving forward, the company will focus less on international content and more on Hollywood series and films, “which have mass global appeal, are in high demand with our partners,” the memo reads. The only exception to this international content scale-back will be Paramount’s free-to-air (FTA) networks in the U.K., Australia, Argentina and Chile. Those territories continue to have a strong amount of local content.

Kyriacou was with Paramount for four years. Her last day in office will be Jan. 26, though she will continue to work with Paramount through the end of March.

Most recently, Kyriacou led Paramount’s FTA networks outside of the U.S. including Channel 5 in the U.K., Network 10 in Australia, Telefe in Argentina and Chilevisión in Chile. She also oversaw Paramount Television International Studios. During her time in the role, Channel 5 has seen gains in peak time viewing, and Network 10 has become the home of the most-watched entertainment shows in Australia among younger viewers. Paramount Television International Studios also produced shows such as “Uno Para Morir (Death’s Roulette),” “No Escape,” “The Burning Girls” and “Anderson Spider Silva” under her leadership.

Before her current role, Kyriacou was Paramount’s president of Australia, Canada, Israel and U.K.

After her departure, Paramount Television International Studios will be overseen by president of CBS Studios David Stapf, who will continue to report to Cheeks. Free-to-air networks such as Channel 5, Network 10, Chilevisión and Telefe will continue to be led by local leadership in their respective territories.

This exit falls in line with the priorities Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish announced to staff on Thursday. In a memo, the executive wrote that the main priority of 2024 will be “driving earnings growth.” In addition to focusing more on Hollywood originals, Paramount will also be focusing more on streaming profitability, leaning more heavily into the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. In markets across Europe, Latin America and Asia, the company will utilize a “market-by-market strategy” and will seek out local partnerships.

Bakish also outlined the challenges the industry has faced lately, including a soft ad market, a “volatile” macroeconomic environment, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes and the pressures brought on from the constantly shifting streaming landscape.

“We’ve been on our own journey as a company — to realize the full potential of One Paramount as we transition our business from linear to streaming, and continue fine-tuning how we window and monetize our content,” Bakish wrote in the memo.

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