Jim Gianopulos in Talks to Run Paramount Pictures

NEW YORK – Former Twentieth Century Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos is in talks to take charge of Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, said two people familiar with the matter, Wall Street Journal reports.

Mr. Gianopulos would replace Brad Grey, who was ousted by Viacom’s new chief executive, Bob Bakish, last month after several years of deteriorating financial performance at the studio, according to WSJ.

For 16 years Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos’ innovative leadership has been instrumental in producing Oscar-winning movies such as Avatar, Titanic, Sideways, and The Martian, The National Herald has reported.

In 2000, he became co-Chairman of Fox Film (formerly 20th Century Fox and 21st Century Fox) along with Tom Rothman, and he is now sole chair.

With the distinction of having served so long at such a large and influential movie studio, Gianopulos has enjoyed an extensive and illustrious career in the film industry, and shared his thoughts in an interview with The National Herald.

GREEK ROOTS

The Gianopulos family story is one of survival and success. His father, Nikos, came to the United States as an illegal alien right after the end of WWII and the Greek Civil War.

But for Nikos even to arrive here, he had first to miraculously survive the sinking of the Greek Navy cruiser Elli that was hit by an Italian submarine in August 1940 while anchored on the island of Tinos.

His survival was solely a matter of luck and timing, as he was on a higher part of the vessel when the torpedo hit the Elli’s bottom. A few months later, Italy invaded Greece after Ioannis Metaxas refused to surrender.

When Nikos Gianopulos arrived in the United States in 1951, he created the American Ship Repair Co. that provided replacement parts to international commercial fleets. The company has remained a family owned business ever since.

HELLENISM AND THE HERALD

Nikos created the company even though he did not speak English at the time. He received all his news, in Greek, from this newspaper’s sister publication Ethnikos Kyrix-National Herald.

”My father anxiously awaited for the evening edition of the National Herald, every day,” Jim Gianopulos said. He remembers that they always spoke Greek in the house.

”It was not until I went to Kindergarten that I spoke English on a regular basis.” His father had an interesting approach. He told Gianopulos that “you will always be an American but you have to be Greek first.” Gianopulos’ mother, Maria, hailed from Constantinople.

Gianopulos went to law school and his first inclination was to specialize in admiralty law, relevant to the family business. But he did not find it exciting and turned his attention to entertainment law, as he had great interest in music and film.