Viacom CEO Bob Bakish this morning revealed his turnaround strategy for Viacom, which included the transformation of Spike into a general entertainment network rebranded as The Paramount Network. It will be one of the six core domestic channels in the company’s cable portfolio, which will get the lion share of Viacom’s resources going forward.
In an internal memo, Spike president Kevin Kay addresses the transition, which will take place over the next year with a tentative launch scheduled for early 2018.
The Paramount Network’s “focus will be on building distinctive, high-quality scripted and non-scripted original programming – with dramas, comedies, documentaries, movies, sports and tentpole events. It will also incorporate third-party programming, as well as films from other studio’s libraries.”
Spike last week saw two of the networks, which are now deemed as non-essential, TV Land and CMT, aligned with it under Kay. It is unclear whether any original programming, particularly scripted, will migrate from them to Spike, which is yet to launch its first scripted series, The Mist, and is currently casting its second event series, Waco. But Bakish stressed that Viacom’s scripted series efforts will be focused on Paramount Network going forward.
You can read Kay’s note in full below.
Today is a watershed moment for us at Spike.
It is the culmination of years of hard work transforming Spike into a premium entertainment destination. The time is right to take the next big leap forward – to capitalize on this moment when the appetite for powerful storytelling and high-quality cinematic production has never been greater in television.
The time is right for THE PARAMOUNT NETWORK.
For more than 100 years, the iconic Paramount name has been closely associated with the biggest stars and most compelling stories in all of entertainment. It’s a studio known worldwide with unparalleled brand recognition. As one of the biggest media companies in the world, Viacom has an incredibly wide-ranging portfolio of indelible brands that have unique and powerful relationships with broad and diverse audiences across the globe, including the successful Paramount Channel aired internationally, from France to Latin America to Russia.
The big news for all of us today is that Spike will re-brand as The Paramount Network over the next year – with a tentative launch scheduled for early 2018.
The Paramount Network will take Spike’s already strong programming mix and amplify it with the Paramount brand. Its focus will be on building distinctive, high-quality scripted and non-scripted original programming – with dramas, comedies, documentaries, movies, sports and tentpole events. It will also incorporate third-party programming, as well as films from other studio’s libraries.
The new leadership team under Bob Bakish has great confidence in our ability to make The Paramount Network a huge success. We will have more information to share on the re-brand in the coming weeks – and know that I intend to keep you updated along the way.
But for now, let me say how much I look forward to taking this exciting next step with you. I hope you are as fired up as I am for the future!