Join us for our annual Content Leadership Award Celebration to honor George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS, for his professional and philanthropic leadership.
We’ll also pay tribute to UJA’s critical work pursuing a more just world, including fighting all forms of hatred and building bridges between diverse faiths and cultures.
Please note: Attendance at this event is limited to individuals who have completed the Covid-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event. Proof of vaccination will be required for admittance. Individuals may provide proof via paper form, the NYS Excelsior Pass, or other mobile app. This event will be held in accordance with all applicable law and regulations, including state, local, and CDC guidelines, to protect the health and welfare of our staff and guests.
When George Cheeks was growing up, two early influences would impact his professional and personal life forever.
He was drawn to acting and theater at a young age. While he realized he didn’t quite have the chops of his childhood theater friend and future NBC colleague Molly Shannon, working in entertainment became a lifelong pursuit.
At the same time, Cheeks was growing up the son of a Black father and a white mother near Cleveland, Ohio. His parents had been determined to settle in a community that was welcoming to other mixed-race homes, and he grew up close to several Black and Jewish families. He learned about the deep ties between Black and Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights Movement and their shared experiences with discrimination and oppression. The importance of all people, communities, and institutions standing up together against racism and hate was ingrained in him forever.
Today, Cheeks embodies those lifelong lessons and interests as president and chief executive officer of CBS.
Assuming the role in March 2020, Cheeks leads all CBS-branded businesses within ViacomCBS. The group includes CBS Television Network, which encompasses CBS Entertainment, CBS News and Stations, and CBS Sports, as well as CBS Studios, CBS Media Ventures, its first-run syndication business, and CBS-branded digital assets. In June 2021, Cheeks added the role of chief content officer, News and Sports, Paramount+, extending the world-class content from CBS News and CBS Sports to the streaming super service and responsibility for global content strategy for ViacomCBS’ free-to-air networks in the United Kingdom, Australia and Argentina.
Cheeks, who serves on the ViacomCBS Black Executive Leadership Team, has led efforts across CBS to ensure proper representation for BIPOC creators, writers, and on-screen talent. He also helped establish an NAACP production partnership based at CBS Studios that will develop and create a wide range of inclusive content for CBS and other platforms. He has also worked with leaders and employees in CBS News and CBS Sports to drive new diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Beyond his dedication to these issues professionally, Cheeks has also served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD and maintains deep mentorship relationships throughout the industry.
Prior to CBS, Cheeks served more than seven years at NBCUniversal in senior executive positions that spanned creative, business, and operational roles. Most recently, he was vice chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios and was also in charge of late night programming for NBC Entertainment. Previously, he was co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and was jointly responsible for overseeing primetime, late night, and scripted daytime programming.
Cheeks joined NBC after 14 years at Viacom, last serving there as executive vice president of business affairs, and general counsel, Viacom Music and Entertainment Groups, Content Distribution and Marketing. He began at Viacom as senior counsel for MTV Networks and ascended through positions of increasing responsibility including executive vice president and general counsel for MTV, MTV2, MTVu, MTV Films, VH1, CMT, and LOGO.
Cheeks began his career as an entertainment associate at Loeb & Loeb from 1992 to1994. In addition, he served as senior counsel, business and legal affairs, for Castle Rock Entertainment from 1995 to 1997 and worked as an entertainment attorney at the boutique entertainment firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman, in Beverly Hills from 1997 to 1998.
A graduate of Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa), Cheeks received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School (cum laude).
Rob S. Sharenow
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