Viacom Closes Acquisition Of UK’s Channel 5 And Unveils Co-Production Plans

Viacom agreed to pay £450M  ($723.4M) in May when it won the auction for Northern & Shell Media Group’s over-the-air  network, making it the first U.S. company to own a British public service broadcaster. Now that the deal has closed, Viacom International Media Networks says it will team with Channel 5 on two new shows: Nickelodeon will co-produce an animated series, Nella The Knight, for the broadcaster’s popular Milkshake programming block for children up to age seven. It will be produced in the UK;  the U.S. cable channel and UK service will share broadcast rights.  Channel 5 also will begin to air episodes of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Another Viacom entity, MTV UK, also will work with Channel 5 on a new entertainment series:  10,000 BC. It will offer 20 volunteers the opportunity to “forgo the comforts and conveniences of modern life to go back to the Stone Age,” Viacom says. The Garden and GroupM Entertainment will produce the series with 10, hour-long episodes to premiere next year on Channel 5. There’ll also be a spin-off, with five, hour-long episodes, for MTV UK.

The productions show that Viacom is “committed to strengthening Channel 5’s status as one of UK broadcasting’s premier brands” which will continue with “more quality commissions, as well as acquisitions,” Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman says.

The company added that it will keep Channel 5’s ad sales team. Its Commercial Director of Sales, Nick Bampton, and its Chief Operating Officer, Paul Dunthorne, will report to David Lynn, EVP, Managing Director of VIMN UK.

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