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Paramount Network Rebrands, Doubles Down on Movies and Minis

Paramount Network is shifting methods — and altering names.

Selection has realized that the ViacomCBS-owned cabler is planning to maneuver out of lengthy type sequence tv and as a substitute focus its efforts on made-for-TV films that includes massive title stars. To that finish, the community will likely be rebranded because the Paramount Film Network. The rebrand will happen globally inside the subsequent yr.

The present plan is to program 52 authentic films per yr on the community, or one film per week. Every film could have a price range within the low-to-mid-seven-figure vary. As soon as per quarter, the community expects to program a miniseries or scripted sequence on the dimensions of its hit drama “Yellowstone,” doubtlessly spinning off characters from these tasks into their very own movies or sequels sooner or later.

“We’re doubling down on scripted however diversifying with made for TV films, mini-series and blockbuster sequence with film stars like ‘Yellowstone’” says Chris McCarthy, president of leisure and youth manufacturers for ViacomCBS home media networks, in an interview with Selection. “Made-for-TV films present all of the artistic upside and potential to work with nice expertise, with out the complete time dedication of a sequence or function. Plus, we’re maximizing our funding as a result of we will construct a helpful library to make use of throughout our streaming, cable and world footprints.” McCarthy, the MTV and VH1 chief who was promoted late final yr to supervise the overwhelming majority of ViacomCBS’ cable manufacturers, not too long ago rolled out a like-minded overhaul of Comedy Central — pivoting from scripted live-action half hours and towards grownup animation, occasion packages and specials with high-profile expertise resembling John Mulaney and authentic films.

As a part of the programming shift, Paramount Film Network will transfer out of unscripted programming. The unscripted exhibits “Ink Grasp, “Spouse Swap,” and “Battle of the Fittest {Couples}” will all be canceled. “Cops” had beforehand been canceled at Paramount Network again in June. Unscripted hits like “Bar Rescue” and “Lip Sync Battle” will dwell on, however will likely be moved elsewhere inside the ViacomCBS cable portfolio. The community’s scripted sequence “Yellowstone” will proceed as a part of the brand new technique, having been renewed for a fourth season in February. Nonetheless, the plan is to current the present as a cinematic expertise, probably programming two episodes in a single night time with restricted industrial interruptions.

ViacomCBS had beforehand indicated it deliberate to program round 100 authentic films a yr throughout its portfolio. With 52 on Paramount Network, 20-30 will go to MTV whereas one other 20-30 will go to Comedy Central. Growth of the films will likely be overseen by Megan Hooper White, who was named government vice chairman and head of authentic films and restricted sequence for ViacomCBS’ leisure and youth group again in Could. Keith Cox continues to function president of leisure and youth studios. Each White and Cox report back to Nina L. Diaz, who heads programming for the leisure and youth group underneath McCarthy.

The community’s larger productions will likely be produced by Paramount Footage, whereas a big portion will likely be hail from MTV Studios. ViacomCBS will even work with worldwide companions like Network 10, Channel 5, and Telefe on sure movies.

McCarthy says the worth of movies like these he’s planning to program is that “they’re timeless and they work all over the place.” The shift will even permit the model to utilize amenities owned by ViacomCBS each domestically and overseas, no small feat within the present COVID setting.

“We now have discovered tasks world wide that make numerous sense that we will faucet into, notably within the made-for-TV film mannequin,” he says. “It allows us to entry our world built-in infrastructure and experience, notably our amenities in Latin America.”

The movies are additionally helpful as a result of they’re extremely repeatable on completely different platforms, McCarthy says. That’s against a long-form narrative sequence, which requires viewers to have seen all of the previous episodes in an effort to totally grasp the story and thus decide to watching extra sooner or later.

In keeping with a number of sources, Paramount Network first started paring down its scripted TV improvement plans at the start of the yr. Within the wake of the Viacom-CBS merger, executives on the rejoined firms started searching for methods to chop prices. At Paramount Network, that included axing a number of tasks each in improvement and these already ordered to sequence. Amongst these reduce was a sequence adaptation of the movie “Attractive Beast.” The present was given a 10-episode straight-to-series order on the cabler final yr. It was introduced in July that MTV Studios and creator Darren Starr’ “Emily in Paris,” which was first ordered by Paramount Network in September 2018, would debut its first season on Netflix.

The strikes come as McCarthy says he and his group are focusing on content material that they personal which is produced by their in home studios.

“We’re artistic builders, not patrons and all the time have been,” he says. “As our group’s portfolio has expanded, if we don’t personal one thing, we’re transitioning out of it as a result of it doesn’t present long-term worth for the corporate.”

There are presently few scripted sequence nonetheless on the Paramount Network roster past “Yellowstone” as McCarthy’s group focuses on ViacomCBS-owned content material. Earlier this yr, the community aired the Afghanistan struggle dramedy “68 Whiskey,” which was not too long ago canceled after one season. That present was produced by CBS Tv Studios and Think about Leisure. Nonetheless to be decided is the destiny of Michael Chiklis-led drama “Coyote” from Sony Footage Tv.

Different scripted exhibits presently arrange at Paramount Network embrace “Mayor of Kingstown” from “Yellowstone’s” Taylor Sheridan, and “Paradise Misplaced” starring Josh Hartnett, the final of which is presently set to air on each Paramount Network and Spectrum. “Mayor of Kingstown” will possible keep on Paramount Network, the place it could make a pure pairing with “Yellowstone.” It was additionally not too long ago introduced that Spectrum and Paramount Network are partnering on a restricted sequence by which Jessica Chastain will star as nation music legend Tammy Wynette. The present will air on Spectrum, Paramount Network, and the streaming service Paramount Plus.

“Yellowstone” has confirmed to be a major scripted success story for Paramount Network. The present recurrently attracts an viewers of 5-6 million viewers within the Nielsen Stay+7 scores, although it additionally over-indexes with viewers over 50. The present’s Season 3 finale drew a whopping 7.6 million viewers in Stay+3, marking not solely the most-watched episode of the present up to now but in addition the most-watched telecast in community historical past. Together with simulcasts and encores, the Season 3 finale drew 10.7 million viewers — indicative of the technique put in place by McCarthy of enjoying and selling packages throughout a number of manufacturers.

Previous to the reorganization the reorganization that noticed McCarthy achieve oversight of Paramount Network in 2019, the model discovered little success in its push into scripted programming. Restricted sequence “Waco,” concerning the standoff between federal brokers and the Department Davidians was nominated for 3 Emmy Awards in 2018. However authentic comedy “American Lady” was canceled after one season. The comedy “Nobodies,” which aired its first season on TV Land, aired its second season on Paramount Network earlier than being canceled.

The sequence reboot of the darkish highschool comedy movie “Heathers” was set to air on Paramount Network in early 2018, but it surely was pushed again a number of instances within the wake of a number of mass shootings within the U.S. The whole first season was lastly aired over the course of 1 week in October 2018 with no second season deliberate.

When rolling out his plan for the way forward for what was then Viacom in early 2017, months after being named CEO, present ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish, introduced that Spike can be be rebranded Paramount Network and recognized it as considered one of Viacom’s core cable channels. He envisioned it because the vacation spot for premium scripted content material inside the Viacom cable universe, whereas different manufacturers like MTV and CMT ceased producing scripted originals round that very same time. And as Selection solely reported in March, Pop TV is the most recent community underneath the ViacomCBS umbrella to largely finish its scripted programming.

McCarthy beforehand informed Selection that ViacomCBS manufacturers underneath his purview have turn out to be extra of a launch pad for content material that may now dwell in varied quantities of platforms.

“We’ve all the time been about new, now and subsequent,” McCarthy mentioned in June. He went on to emphasize that the actual energy is how the corporate plans to window their content material in years to return.

A part of that windowing will likely be Paramount Plus, the ViacomCBS streaming service. CBS All Entry will likely be rebranded as Paramount Plus in 2021, and will function a variety of IP from inside the ViacomCBS portfolio on a worldwide scale.

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