Cyma Zarghami

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cyma Zarghami
Born (1962-12-15) December 15, 1962 (age 56)
OccupationFormer president of Nickelodeon & Viacom Media Networks
Years active2006–2018 (president of Nickelodeon)[1]
EmployerViacom Media Networks (Viacom)
Spouse(s)George Obergfoll

Cyma Zarghami (Persian: سیما ضرغامی‎, born December 15, 1962) is an Iranian-born American cable television executive who served as the president of Nickelodeon and Viacom Media Networks Kids & Family Group from 2006 to 2018.

Early life[edit]

Zarghami was born in Abadan, Iran[2] to an Iranian father, Gholam, and a Scottish mother, Catherine. The family later moved to Canada and finally to Englewood, New Jersey, where she graduated in the class of 1980 from the Dwight-Englewood School, and has been a recipient of the school's Distinguished Alumni Award.[3] At Dwight-Englewood, she "played a lot of sports, Lacrosse mostly." [4][5]

In 1980, Zarghami entered The University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont as an elementary education major, but later changed her major to English. She ultimately did not complete her degree, but was later awarded an honorary diploma by the University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services in 2000.[5]


Zarghami traveled in Europe after leaving college, then returned to Burlington to work for Business Digest.[5]


Zarghami joined Nickelodeon as a scheduling clerk in 1985. She moved up through the programming department and became the channel's general manager in 1996, overseeing programming, scheduling, acquisitions, marketing and day-to-day management of the network. Zarghami was promoted to general manager and executive vice-president in 1997.[6]

In 2004, the position of president of Nickelodeon Television was created for Zarghami, where she oversaw production and development for the network, along with marketing, programming and creativity.[7]

After the resignation of Herb Scannell on January 5, 2006, Zarghami became president of the newly formed Kids & Family Group, which currently includes Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, TV Land, CMT, and CMT Pure Country.[8]

Zarghami was named Women in Cable Telecommunications' Woman of the Year for 2006.

On June 4, 2018, Zarghami resigned as president of Nickelodeon and retired, after being with the network for 33 years.[9]


After her retirement, controversy arose when Micah Wright, a former Nickelodeon employee and creator of the pilot "Constant Payne" published a document that described embezzlement, corruption & mismanagement within the company during Zarghami's tenure at Nick, Wright described Zarghami as having an extremely hostile personality and stated that she mistreated employees at Nick and stole revenue from them without compensation. Wright also stated that she illegally harassed, fired, & blacklisted staff who were members of the Writers Guild of America West. Wright also said that the reason why his cartoon pilot "Constant Payne" was rejected was because Zarghami said that action shows "Promoted Terrorism".[10] A similar allegation came from C. H. Greenblatt in 2016 who deemed her along with other executives responsible for the mistreatment and cancellation of Harvey Beaks. [11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Zarghami lives in New York City with husband George Obergfoll, a stage manager, and three sons Liam, Wyatt and Ethan. She formerly served on the board of the Children's Museum of Manhattan.


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2018-06-04). "Cyma Zarghami Stepping Down As President Of Nickelodeon Group". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  2. ^ Rezaei, Shabnam (2010-06-28). "From TV to the future of Digital Children's Entertainment". PersianMirror.COM. Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  3. ^ Staff. "SpongeBob loves Cyma Zarghami: Iranian woman understands what American kids want--and she gives it to them.", Iran Times International, March 20, 2009. Accessed September 10, 2012. "Zarghami was born in Iran, moved with her family to Canada, and then settled in Englewood, New Jersey, before relocating to New York..."
  4. ^ Sellers, Patricia (1996-10-11). "The Women of Viacom". Fortune. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  5. ^ a b c "Twenty-year plan". Vermont Quarterly. 2000. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  6. ^ "Nick ups four to exec VP posts". Variety. 1997-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  7. ^ Oei, Lily (2004-01-06). "Zarghami named Nick TV prez". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  8. ^ Dempsey, John (2006-01-04). "Scannell changes channel". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2018-06-04). "Cyma Zarghami Stepping Down As President Of Nickelodeon Group". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Herb Scannell
Nickelodeon president
Succeeded by
Brian Robbins