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Paramount’s Maria Kyriacou Exiting As International Originals Strategy Slimmed Down

Maria Kyriacou, Paramount Global’s President, Broadcast & Studios, International Markets, is exiting the U.S. studio after four years, as it prepares to slim down its international originals offerings.

Paramount international boss Pam Kaufman and CBS CEO George Cheeks have emailed staff in the past few minutes announcing the news, stressing that international content strategy is now “focusing more heavily on our Hollywood franchises, films and series, which have mass global appeal,” coming after head honcho Bob Bakish detailed strategy yesterday.

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Kyriacou will not be replaced externally. CBS Studios President David Stapf will take on her Paramount Television International Studios (PTIS) remit, and local leaders will continue overseeing international free-to-air networks.

Kyriacou’s last day is today, but she will continue working with the team until March. She joined from ITV Studios in 2019 to oversee the UK, Australia, Canada and Israel and most recently has been leading PTIS along with Channel 5, Network 10, Chilevisión and Telefe outside of the U.S. She spent a decade at ITV Studios and was previously an SVP at Disney for 15 years.

Kaufman and Cheeks said Kyriacou has “demonstrated an unwavering commitment to driving our business forward, achieving commercial results, and mastering the art of delivering high-quality, authentic local stories to our platforms in markets around the world.” They flagged local PTIS successes such as Uno Para Morir (Death’s Roulette), No Escape, The Burning Girls and Anderson Spider.

The pair said they “recognize” that Kyriacou’s departure will mean “redefining how we work together as ‘One Paramount’ across these lines of business.”

The “One Paramount” strategy was unveiled by Bakish during an earnings call yesterday and in a staff memo afterward as Paramount prepares for mass layoffs, which are set to impact hundreds of employees across the company.

Bakish’s “One Paramount” plan has three strategic goals: maximizing content, driving streaming profitability and “further unlocking the power of One Paramount.” “As it has over the past few years, this does mean we will continue to reduce our workforce globally,” his memo read. “These decisions are never easy but are essential on our path to earnings growth.”

As part of the first prong, Paramount will produce “fewer local, international originals for our platforms,” according to Bakish’s memo, though he stressed a continued commitment to free-to-air networks.

Bar Kyriacou, all of Paramount’s international employees are remaining in post for the time being.

Deadline revealed last year that Paramount was shuttering its UK unscripted division, which made the likes of Catfish UK and True Life Crime, leading to about 20 layoffs. At that point, Paramount shifted its  international production focus to high-end scripted.

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