Studio veteran in the frame after second round of talks with Viacom.

Jim Gianopulos

The identity of the executive who will replace Brad Grey appeared to be coming into focus on Tuesday.

According to reports, former Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos has impressed Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount parent company Viacom, and is regarded as a leading candidate to run Paramount.

It also emerged that veteran producer and former New Line executive Mike De Luca is in contention to play a role, possibly overseeing the film division.

De Luca produced current hit Fifty Shades Darker, The Social Network and Moneyball, among many others, and just co-produced the 89th annual Academy Awards where he acquitted himself with distinction despite the best picture envelope mix-up at the finale that was not his fault.

Gianopulos has been a gun for hire since he departed Fox last year and had reportedly been in talks with Legendary to run the Wanda-owned company after Thomas Tull left in January.

It is understood he has pressed for greenlight control at Paramount.

Since Grey’s departure last month Viacom is understood to have spoken to several candidates including former Lionsgate co-chairman of the motion picture group Rob Friedman, who previously served as Paramount COO and vice-chairman of the motion picture group.

The list of executive interviewees includes Studio 8 head and former Warner Bros president Jeff Robinov, and co-president of Universal Pictures Scott Stuber, who may be headed to Netflix to run the motion picture division. Netflix has declined to comment on that possibility.

A Viacom spokesperson had not responded to a request for a comment at time of writing.