CBS Buys Out Lionsgate’s Stake in Pop Cable Network to Become Sole Owner

It purchased half of the former TV Guide Channel in 2013

Schitt's Creek was Pop's first original series when the network rebranded in 2015. Pop
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CBS now has sole custody of Pop.

The company has purchased Lionsgate’s 50 percent stake in the cable network and is Pop’s only owner.

CBS bought into the cable network—then known as the TV Guide Network—back in 2013, paying a reported $100 million for its 50 percent stake.

The network rebranded as Pop in 2015, ditching its infamous programming scroll and rolling out a slate of original shows. Its first series—the comedy Schitt’s Creek—is also its most successful one, though a large portion of that show’s audience discovered it on Netflix.

Pop’s most recent series launch is Flack, starring Anna Paquin.

“Going forward, Pop will continue on its path of developing idiosyncratic, comedy-leaning original programming for the network. We also see Pop as another important outlet for CBS-produced content, both original series and secondary runs of off-network and library programming,” David Nevins, chief creative officer, CBS Corp. said today in a memo to staff.

He continued, “We believe that by bringing Pop closer to the CBS and Showtime creative and business operations, we can help unlock value and drive growth at Pop TV.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news about CBS’ purchase of Pop.

“I really feel like we have found this unique lane in a crowded TV universe,” Pop president Brad Schwartz said in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in January. “Even against titans with billions of dollars to spend, we keep growing. In fact, we are one of only four ad-supported networks to have grown or retained our audience over the past six consecutive years. They might be able to outspend us, but they can’t outwork us.”

In addition to Pop, CBS Corp. owns Showtime and Smithsonian Channel cable networks. It also co-owns The CW with AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

This is the second cable network that Lionsgate has sold its stake in since purchasing Starz for $4.4 billion in 2016. Lionsgate had also been a co-owner of Epix alongside Viacom and MGM, but MGM bought out its partners in 2017.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.