ViacomCBS, fresh off announcing plans to rebrand streamer CBS All Access to Paramount+, is readying another major overhaul for one of its cable properties.
Paramount Network, the cable channel owned by ViacomCBS that airs an eclectic combination of scripted and unscripted programming, is preparing yet another rebrand to Paramount Movie Network within the next year, a spokesperson for the company said. As part of the rebrand, the cable channel will shift its programming focus to made-for-television movies and miniseries, while scripted hits like Yellowstone will remain on the network.
“We’re doubling down on scripted but diversifying with made-for-TV movies, miniseries and blockbuster series with movie stars like Yellowstone,” Chris McCarthy, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks’ president of entertainment and youth brands, said in an interview with Variety, which broke the news. “Made-for-TV movies provide all the creative upside and ability to work with great talent, without the full-time commitment of a series or feature. Plus, we’re maximizing our investment because we can build a valuable library to use across our streaming, cable and global footprints.”
Few cable networks have been rebranded as much as Paramount Network over the years. The channel started as The Nashville Network in 1983, later shifting its name to TNN before becoming The National Network in 2000. Then it was called the New TNN, before morphing to Spike in 2003, and finally rebranding as the Paramount Network in early 2008.
As part of the shift, well-performing unscripted series like Bar Rescue and Chrissy Tiegen-hosted Lip Sync Battle will move elsewhere, while others, including Battle of the Fittest Couples, Ink Master and Wife Swap, will get the axe, Variety reported. The rebrand, which will be a global one, will allow the company to leverage its global footprint to produce made-for-TV movies in locales like Latin America, and may lead to cost-savings with programming that can be repurposed across the ViacomCBS portfolio.
“Made-for-TV movies provide all the creative upside and ability to work with great talent, without the full-time commitment of a series or feature,” McCarthy said. “Plus, we’re maximizing our investment because we can build a valuable library to use across our streaming, cable and global footprints.”
The new strategy and name for Paramount Network come after less than three years since its last rebrand. At the time, Paramount was testing out scripted originals for the first time with miniseries Waco, dark comedy Heathers, dramedy American Woman and Yellowstone, which network president Kevin Kay said would help shift the male-skewed audience of Spike into a 50-50 split between men and women. (Kay left the network in late 2018 after a company restructuring.)
American Woman was canceled after one season, and Heathers was never aired on the network due to a high school shooting that occurred weeks before its planned premiere, but Yellowstone—a modern western set in Montana—has been a success story for the network. The fourth season of the show has been ordered and will likely air in 2021.
The new name also comes less than a week after ViacomCBS announced that its streaming service CBS All Access would be rebranded to Paramount+ in early 2021. That rebrand is aimed at tapping into the global affinity for the Paramount brand name, which executives say will help with their long-term growth plans.
This is the latest ViacomCBS network that Chris McCarthy has overhauled since his purview expanded last fall ahead of the Viacom-CBS merger and he was named president of entertainment and youth brands at ViacomCBS’ domestic media networks.