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Elaine Bauer Brooks Departing As Head Of Development At CBS Media Ventures

EXCLUSIVE: Elaine Bauer Brooks will be leaving her post as EVP, Development and MultiPlatform Content at CBS Media Ventures after nine years at the company.

Her departure follows that of CBS Media Ventures President Steve LoCascio who announced his retiring two weeks ago amid a corporate restructuring that saw the division become part of the portfolio of Wendy McMahon who was named President and CEO of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures.

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Bauer Brooks just announced her pending exit in an email to staff.

“This is a special place with one of the most creative and innovative teams in the business, so this was not an easy decision, but it is the right one for me,” she said, adding that McMahon had asked her to stay until the end of November to help with the transition, “and I am happy to do so.”

In Bauer Brooks’ note and a separate company memo by McMahon (you can read them in full below), they both singled out the launch of The Drew Barrymore Show as a highlight of Bauer Brooks’ tenure.

“Nothing was more fulfilling than launching Drew at the height of the pandemic and then watching it grow into the daytime force that it is today,” said Bauer Brooks.

Added McMahon, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Elaine from the station side the last few years and know how much passion, creativity and collaboration she brought to the table. Without her, we wouldn’t have the hottest show in daytime – The Drew Barrymore Show. I want to thank Elaine for all her hard work and contributions to CMV over the last nine years. She has been integral to the success of this division and will truly be missed.”

The executive changes at CBS Media Ventures come amid a major contraction in the first-run syndication space, with many mainstay shows coming to an end and few new ones coming on amid challenging economics of the linear TV and syndication businesses.

During Bauer Brooks’ nine-year tenure, she developed a number of projects, only two of which got to launch in national syndication, The Drew Barrymore Show, which is now headed into its fourth season, as well as game show Pictionary, in partnership with Fox, which is returning for a second season.

In her memo, McMahon assured staff that there will be no retreat and that there will be a replacement for Bauer Brooks.

“Going forward, I want to reiterate the company’s commitment to the first-run syndication business,” she said. “Developing new shows and franchises is a top priority, and we will begin actively recruiting a new head of development and brand extensions. This role will continue to be responsible for first-run development, and will also work more closely with our shows and producers to extend our current brands across all platforms and into the larger Paramount ecosystem.”

Bauer Brooks joined then-CBS TV Distribution in 2014 from The Style Network, where she served as executive producer on the network’s Fashion Week programming and the limited series Style Pop. Prior to that, she served as SVP Development at Style, where she worked on series such as Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane, Ruby and Style Her Famous.

After starting her career in syndication as a producer on Telepictures’ Jenny Jones, Bauer Brooks oversaw Ricki Lake as Director of Development at Columbia TriStar. She also served as SVP Development and Current Programming for Twentieth Television, where she developed and oversaw daytime talk show On-Air With Ryan Seacrest and court show Judge Alex. Additionally, her resume includes stints as VP Programming for CBS/Eyemark Entertainment and as VP Development at Imagine Television.

Here are the two emails:

Bauer Brooks’ note:

Dear friends and colleagues,

I am writing to share some personal news with you. After nine incredible years with CMV, I have decided to leave my current role as EVP, Development and Multiplatform Content.

This is a special place with one of the most creative and innovative teams in the business, so this was not an easy decision, but it is the right one for me. I’m so proud of everything we have accomplished together, and my time at CMV has included some of the highlights of my career, including the launch of The Drew Barrymore Show. Nothing was more fulfilling than launching Drew at the height of the pandemic and then watching it grow into the daytime force that it is today. This wouldn’t have been possible without Steve’s vision, support and commitment to taking a big swing. I will forever appreciate that opportunity and his steady hand, which was so critical.

I’m profoundly thankful for the leadership of George [Cheeks], Wendy and Steve who have each impacted my career in meaningful and distinct ways. Their collective support in making this difficult decision has meant everything to me. I have no doubt that Wendy’s vision for CMV will take the division to the next level. And to my friends and colleagues, the relationships we’ve fostered here have been some of the most important and treasured of my professional life.

I look forward to sharing my “next chapter” plans sometime down the road. In the near term, Wendy has asked me to stay until the end of November in order to help with the transition, and I am happy to do so.

This experience has truly been a great one. I hope to cross paths again in the future but until then, thank you for everything and please stay in touch.

All my best,

Elaine

McMahon’s note to CMV:

Hi everyone,

I have some news to share with you today — Elaine Bauer Brooks has decided to leave CMV, as you can see from her note below.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Elaine from the station side the last few years and know how much passion, creativity and collaboration she brought to the table. Without her, we wouldn’t have the hottest show in daytime – The Drew Barrymore Show.

I want to thank Elaine for all her hard work and contributions to CMV over the last nine years. She has been integral to the success of this division and will truly be missed.

Going forward, I want to reiterate the company’s commitment to the first-run syndication business. Developing new shows and franchises is a top priority, and we will begin actively recruiting a new head of development and brand extensions. This role will continue to be responsible for first-run development, and will also work more closely with our shows and producers to extend our current brands across all platforms and into the larger Paramount ecosystem.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Wendy

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