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Paramount Network

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paramount Network
Paramount Network.svg
TypeGeneral entertainment cable network
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersLos Angeles
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
Ownership
OwnerParamount Media Networks (Paramount Global)
ParentMTV Entertainment Group
Key people
  • Chris McCarthy (President, Entertainment & Youth Brands, Paramount Media Networks)
  • Tanya Giles (GM)[note 1]
  • Rob O’Neill (SVP, Programming & Promotion Strategy)[note 1]
  • Debbie Beiter (Senior Vice President, Operations and Production)[note 1]
Sister channels
History
LaunchedMarch 7, 1983; 39 years ago (1983-03-07)
Former names
  • The Nashville Network
    (1983–2000)
  • The National Network
    (2000–2001)
  • The New TNN
    (2001–2003)
  • Spike TV
    (2003–2006)
  • Spike
    (2006–2018)
Links
Websiteparamountnetwork.com

Paramount Network is an American basic cable television channel owned by the MTV Entertainment Group unit of Paramount Media Networks. The network's headquarters are located at the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Los Angeles.

The channel was originally founded by a partnership between radio station WSM and Westinghouse Broadcasting as The Nashville Network (TNN) and began broadcasting on March 7, 1983.[1][2] It initially featured programming catering towards the culture of the Southern United States, including country music, variety shows, outdoors programming, and motor racing coverage (such as NASCAR). TNN was purchased by the Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1983.[3] After Gaylord bought CMT in 1991, TNN's music programming was shifted to CMT, leaving TNN to focus on entertainment and lifestyle programming.

In 1995, TNN and CMT were acquired by Westinghouse, which was in turn acquired by Viacom in 1999. Under Viacom ownership, TNN would phase out country-influenced programming in favor of a general entertainment format appealing to Middle America. It was renamed The National Network in September 2000, coinciding with the network premiere of WWF Raw. In August 2003, TNN relaunched as Spike TV, which targeted a young adult male audience. From June 2006, the network's programming had a more explicit focus on the action genre, while in 2010, the network had an increased focus on original reality series. This culminated with a final rebrand in 2015 to emphasize gender-balanced series (such as Lip Sync Battle) and a return to original scripted programming. On January 18, 2018, Spike relaunched as Paramount Network, aiming to align the network with its namesake studio (which previously lent its name to the now-defunct United Paramount Network), and to position it as a flagship, "premium" channel.

One of Paramount Network's only major successes in scripted programming has been Yellowstonewhich quickly became the channel's flagship drama, and has spawned multiple spin-offs for co-owned streaming service Paramount+. In 2020 and 2021, the channel cancelled most of its original series or moved them to other ViacomCBS networks, as part of a proposed plan to relaunch Paramount Network with a focus on made-for-TV films. By January 2022, these plans had been scrapped due to the impact of COVID-19 and success of the Yellowstone franchise, leaving it and Spike holdover Bar Rescue as the channel's only original, first-run programs. The channel has also featured occasional limited engagements of Paramount+ original series to promote the service, using Yellowstone as an anchor.

As of September 2018, approximately 80.24 million households in the United States receive Paramount Network.[4]

History

The Nashville Network (1983–2000)

The Nashville Network first launched on March 7, 1983; it was dedicated to the culture and lifestyle of country music and the U.S. South.[5] It originally operated as a joint venture of WSM, Inc., at the time owned by National Life and Accident Insurance Company, and Group W Satellite Communications. TNN operated from the now-defunct Opryland USA theme park near Nashville, Tennessee. Country Music Television (CMT), founded by Glenn D. Daniels, beat TNN's launch by two days, robbing them of the claim of the "first country music cable television network." TNN's flagship shows included Nashville Now, The Statler Brothers Show, American Sports Cavalcade and Grand Ole Opry Live. Nashville Now and the Grand Ole Opry were broadcast live from Opryland USA.[6][7]

The Gaylord Entertainment Company purchased WSM, along with TNN and the Opryland properties, in the latter half of 1987. Much of TNN's programming (except for its sports) during the Gaylord era was originally produced by Opryland Productions, also owned by Gaylord Entertainment.[8] From 1983 to 1992, all of TNN's auto racing and motor sports coverage was produced by Diamond P Sports. Starting in 1993, TNN started having its NASCAR coverage produced by World Sports Enterprises, and the American Speed Association coverage produced by Group 5 Sports, while Diamond P continued to produce most of the rest of the racing coverage. Programming included variety shows, talk shows, game shows, outdoor shows (such as hunting and fishing), and lifestyle shows; all centered in some way around country music or the country style of living.[9]

Some of TNN's popular on-air talent included local Nashville media personalities Ralph Emery,[10] Dan Miller, Charlie Chase and Lorianne Crook, as well as established stars such as country music singer Bill Anderson and actresses Florence Henderson and Dinah Shore. By 1995, TNN was acquired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which had recently acquired CBS around that time; two years later, Westinghouse bought CMT, TNN's chief competitor. In 1998, the channel dropped its "The Nashville Network" moniker and shortened its official name to TNN. Ownership shifted to Viacom in the late 1990s after its acquisition of CBS Corporation, Westinghouse's successor.[6]

The National Network, the New TNN, and professional wrestling (2000–2003)

In 1999, TNN began to downplay its previous country lifestyle programming to appeal to a wider demographic, including younger viewers; capitalizing on the success of RollerJam (a roller derby-inspired series with elements of professional wrestling), TNN reached a three-year deal to broadcast a weekly television series from the Philadelphia-based wrestling promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), which would air on Friday nights beginning in late-August 1999. Under the contract, ECW also agreed to revenue sharing with TNN for all of the promotion's events (including live shows and pay-per-views) and merchandising. These two programs would air as part of a Friday-night block themed around extreme sports programming, alongside Motor Madness and Championship Bull Riding; a TNN executive described bull riding as being "the original extreme sport".[11][12][13][14]

In November 1999, TNN announced new programming and primetime theme blocks it planned to introduce in 2000, including Movie Monday (which would target female viewers), Action Wednesday, Friday Night Thrill Zone, Classic Country on Saturday nights, and TNN Outdoors on Sundays. The new schedule, along with new series such as the action drama 18 Wheels of Justice, collegiate bowling competition series Rockin' Bowl, reruns of the Western anthology Dead Man's Gun, and a new promotional campaign targeting younger viewers, were intended to introduce a broader audience to the network.[15] Despite ECW reportedly driving a 200% increase in young male viewership in its timeslot, the promotion had a strained relationship with TNN's management—which had also given the program little advertising.[11][12]

On September 25, 2000, TNN was folded into the MTV Networks division based in New York City, and was renamed The National Network. The rebranding coincided with major changes to the network's programming, including the network premiere of RAW Is Warthe flagship weekly program of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE)which moved to TNN from USA Network as part of a new contract with Viacom. As WWF programs were among USA Network's top programs, the move was considered a major coup for TNN. MTV Networks chairman Tom Freston described TNN as now being a general entertainment service, albeit one with a "sort of populist middle-America flavor" rather than "another network for New York or Los Angeles."[16][6][17]

Football also became more prominent on the network, as it began airing games of the original Arena Football League (AFL) with Eli Gold as an announcer. TNN was also one of three networks to air games of the ill-fated, WWF-backed XFL (along with NBC and UPN). As part of its contract, TNN had the rights to a late Sunday afternoon game each week except for the first week, when UPN aired the afternoon game instead. In 2001, TNN aired CBS Sports-produced coverage of the inaugural opening round game of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament.[18] The opening round game would later move to ESPN in 2002.

In 2001, TNN added off-network sitcoms and dramas such as Diff'rent Strokes,[19] The Wonder Years,[20] The Rockford Files,[20] WKRP in Cincinnati,[20] Newhart, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Miami Vice[20] and Taxi.[20][21] It also became the first channel to air reruns of MADtv. These moves went unnoticed for the most part, due to TNN's lack of popularity. By this time, all country-western programming had been purged from the network; some of The Nashville Network's former programming was picked up by CMT, while other classic TNN shows were picked up by Great American Country, including eventually the Grand Ole Opry, which was pushed off to CMT and eventually removed by Viacom after they did not renew the agreement to carry the series. In 2001, TNN began to market itself as "The New TNN", an inadvertent pleonasm in its full context.[22][23]

By late 2002, the channel had picked up more male-oriented shows, such as Baywatch, Monster Jam, the hidden camera game show Oblivious, Robot Wars Extreme Warriors, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Slamball.[24]

Spike (2003–2018)

In April 2003, it was announced that the network would be relaunched as Spike TV on June 16.[25] Promoted with the slogan "The First Network for Men", Viacom aimed to target young adult males aged 18–34 — a demographic they believed were being served insufficiently by other cable networks. Spike's launch programming would include a slate of new adult animation series such as Gary the Rat, Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" (an adult-oriented revival of the former Nickelodeon series The Ren & Stimpy Show, led by its original creator John Kricfalusi), and Stripperella, as well as other new series such as Ride with Funkmaster Flex, joined by its recent acquisitions CSI, Star Trek, and Raw.[25] Other planned programming included interstitial segments on health, technology, and finance in collaboration with Men's Health, Stuff, and MarketWatch.[25]

Three days before the planned launch date, film director Spike Lee won a New York Supreme Court injunction preventing Viacom from using the name "Spike TV". Lee claimed that because of his well-known popularity in Hollywood, viewers would therefore assume that he was associated with the new channel.[26] Lee stated in court papers that: "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious—that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee."[27][25] Spike Jones Jr., son of comic musician Spike Jones, became a party to the lawsuit as part of Viacom's defense to protect the rights to his father's name.[28]

Most of the new programming would premiere on the originally-planned date as a soft launch; at this time, the TNN name and logo was downplayed heavily in favor of the "First Network for Men" tagline. The suit was settled on July 8, 2003, in announcing the settlement, Lee admitted that he did not believe that the channel intentionally tried to trade on his name.[29] On July 28, 2003, it was announced that Spike TV would officially launch on August 11, 2003 — eight weeks later than initially scheduled. Its launch night programming featured two programs originally intended to air on June 16, including Party with Spike—a launch special filmed at the Playboy Mansion, and the premiere of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge—a comedic dub of the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle.[30] Klasky Csupo's Immigrants and the John Leguizamo-produced Zilch & Zero were originally slated to run on Spike TV's animation block,[31] but these plans never materialized and the former was broadcast as a film instead.[32][33] Later that year, Spike premiered the reality television parody The Joe Schmo Show, and launched the Spike Video Game Awards.

On January 17, 2005, Spike TV premiered The Ultimate Fighter, a reality competition series following mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters training and competing to earn a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The series helped to raise the profile of the promotion, and would run for 14 seasons, ending its run in 2011 only after Fox Sports acquired the U.S. television rights to UFC programming and events under a new, seven-year deal.[34][35]

In March 2005, Viacom announced that it would not renew its contract with WWE when it expired in September 2005. Spike's new president, Doug Herzog, stated that the network had planned to "expand its investments in original programming and new acquisitions for its core audience", including new scripted programming. The following month, it was announced that WWE Raw would return to USA Network.[36][37] Spike subsequently reached a deal with another wrestling promotion, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), which saw TNA Impact! premiere on Saturday, October 1, 2005.[38] Later in the month, Spike TV debuted the video game news show Game Head, hosted by Geoff Keighley.

"Get More Action"

Spike's logo, used from May 9, 2006, to March 2, 2015
Spike's logo, used from May 9, 2006, to March 2, 2015

In 2005, Viacom conducted research which found that word-of-mouth knowledge narrowly perceived Spike TV's programming as being predominantly "low-brow", violent, and reliant on sex appeal. These findings led Viacom to pursue a rebrand in an effort to clarify the network's focus. At its upfront presentations in 2006, Viacom unveiled a new logo for the channel (officially shortening its name to simply "Spike"), and the new slogan "Get More Action". The new brand was described as being "authentic" and "unapologetically" masculine, and emphasizing action as a core genre of programming for the network. The new branding would launch alongside the premiere of Blade: The Series in June 2006. Spike also attracted advertisers with product placement opportunities, such as the "Men of Action" promos, which featured homages and parodies of "classic action moments".[39]

On September 5, 2006, Spike premiered the documentary film Metal of Honor: The Ironworkers of 9/11 by filmmaker Rachel Maguire, which profiled the ironworkers' efforts in the attempts for rescue and recovery following the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center site. The film proceeds through the ironworkers' dismantling of the fallen towers.[40] On October 10, 2006, Spike debuted the Scream Awards, the first awards show honoring horror, science fiction, fantasy and comic book-based entertainment.

In October 2007, Kevin Kay was appointed network president after serving as executive vice president and general manager of the channel for the previous two years.[41] The post had been vacant since December 2006.[42] In 2008, the network debuted DEA, a reality series based on the Drug Enforcement Administration.[43]

On April 7, 2008, Spike acquired cable syndication rights for the sitcom Married... with Children.[44] Five new unscripted series were also picked up for the channel's Summer 2008 lineup, including 1000 Ways To Die.[45]

In the fall of 2009, Spike broadcast live Australian rugby league semifinal games from the National Rugby League and also showed the grand final, as part of efforts by David Niu to bring the National Rugby League USA to the United States.[46][47] On June 1, 2010, Spike launched into the first crowd-sourced pilot episode contest with Scripped, a web-based screenwriting community.[48]

"Get Real"

In January 2011, Spike ordered two new reality television series, Bar Rescue and Repo Games.[49] During Viacom's upfronts presentation that May, it was announced that Spike would undergo a brand repositioning, with a larger focus on reality programming and a broader audience of males in the key demographic. The changes were intended to pivot Spike's brand in a more mature direction, which were described as an aim to be less like Maxim magazine and more like Esquire.[50] A promotional campaign emphasized adversity as a common theme in Spike's programming.[51][52][50]

The following year, Spike ordered the bounty hunting competition series Full Bounty, Rat Bastards (a series following a pest control business in Mississippi), and Tattoo Nightmares, along with a revival of World's Wildest Police Videos.[53] Full Bounty was later revealed to actually be a revived, third season of Spike's reality television satire The Joe Schmo Show.[54] In 2013, Bellator MMA made its network debut with the premiere of its eighth season; the now Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion previously aired on sibling channel MTV2.[55][56] Later that year, Fox reality series Cops moved to Spike beginning September 14.[57] In the fall, kickboxing promotion Glory made its network debut with Glory 11: Chicago.[58] This was not Spike's first time broadcasting a kickboxing event as, in 2012, they partnered with K-1 to broadcast several events on their website.[59] The end of the year saw the Video Game Awards revamped and become known as VGX.[60]

At the end of the year, Impact Wrestling would air its last episode on Spike on December 24, 2014, before moving to Destination America in 2015.[61] Spike also announced that they would drop their video game award show;[62] Geoff Keighley would go on to create his own award show in the form of The Game Awards. In January 2015, following a similar deal made by NBC, Spike announced they would air monthly fight cards by the Haymon Boxing-created "Premier Boxing Champions".[63][64][65]

"The Ones to Watch"

Final Spike logo used from March 3, 2015, to January 17, 2018, in the United States; Currently used by local versions in international markets.
Final Spike logo used from March 3, 2015, to January 17, 2018, in the United States; Currently used by local versions in international markets.

During its upfronts on March 3, 2015, Spike unveiled a new logo and tagline, "The Ones to Watch".[66] The re-branding aimed to make the network more inclusive to women, emphasizing a focus on "big talent, engaging shows and hits that get people talking" and further expansions into scripted series. Alongside the miniseries Tut and the announcement of an expanded episode order for the series Lip Sync Battle (a spin-off of a segment from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), the network announced an output deal with Dwayne Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions for a series of specials, Emergency Broadcast, an original drama co-created by Max Brooks, and Sweat Inc., a fitness-oriented reality series hosted by Jillian Michaels.[67][68][69]

Paramount Network (2018–present)

On February 9, 2017, Viacom announced that Spike TV would relaunch as Paramount Network in 2018 and move its headquarters to Paramount Pictures in Hollywood to give the network a closer association with the film studio. This was part of a restructuring plan by new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to refocus the majority of its media business around six flagship brands, which included Paramount, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and MTV.[70][71][72] Spike signed off on the night of January 18, 2018 at around 8:59 p.m. ET after an airing of Pitch Perfect, leading to the network's relaunch as Paramount Network that was marked by a live, Michael Jackson-themed Lip Sync Battle special broadcast from the Dolby Theatre.[73] New original series announced in the first half of 2018 included the miniseries Waco and Yellowstone, along with American Woman and Heathers—two comedies originally slated for TV Land. The Shannara Chronicles, which moved to Spike for season 2 from MTV, was not renewed by Paramount Network.[74][75][76][77]

Paramount Network is being positioned as a "premium" basic cable network, similar to AMC and FX.[78] Network president Kevin Kay explained that Bakish wanted Viacom to have a "flagship" outlet for scripted programming, as opposed to making inefficient investments into them across individual channels. He added that Paramount Network's offerings would be distinguished from its competitors by continuing to emphasize Middle America as a key viewer base. Even with its subsequent rebrandings, Paramount Network still had significant carriage strength and viewership in the Midwest and South due to its heritage as TNN. Kay argued that its initial slate of original dramas were not as "dark", citing the setting of Yellowstone as making it "brighter and a bit more blue sky than some of the things that are on premium cable TV now".[78]

In regards to the programs moved to Paramount Network from TV Land, American Woman was moved to take advantage of its prominent leads Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, while Heathers was moved because, in Kay's opinion, the show was not appropriate for TV Land's target audience.[78] In June 2018, Heathers was dropped by Paramount Network and Viacom, citing network concerns over the content of the series in the wake of recent shootings in the U.S., such as the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.[79] The series would eventually air on Paramount Network in October 2018 in an edited form, with two episodes dropped due to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.[80][81][82]

Paramount Network began a viral marketing campaign to promote its launch in December 2017. The campaign included a Times Square advertisement asking viewers to phone and email Paramount Network's chief marketing officer Niels Schuurmans to protest Spike's "firing", as well as a string of self-deprecating posts by the network's Twitter account about its history and programming (including that "My favorite number is 329 because it's the number of times Cops is on every night", "We had a show called The Joe Schmo Show. Apparently every decent show name was taken", and that "There's a reason all our early shows were CSI, UFC, TNA, MXC, UTI. No one around here knew how to read"). A network executive stated that the campaign was meant to represent a "public meltdown" by a fired employee. Spike additionally held a Facebook live streaming event on January 17, 2018, where users could vote on various ways a crew would deface a large model of the former Spike logo, culminating in its demolition.[83][84][85][86]

In May 2019, the Spike brand was relaunched in the U.S. as two streaming channels on Pluto TV, which was acquired by Viacom in March 2019. The relaunch consisted of a main Spike-branded channel and a second channel called "Spike Outdoors".[87]

Aborted rebrand as a movie network

In early 2020, Paramount Network began to cut back on scripted series development, having dropped upcoming projects such as Emily in Paris (which was subsequently picked up by Netflix), and cancelling 68 Whiskey after a single season.[88] On September 11, 2020, it was announced that Bellator would move to CBS Sports Network in October 2020.[89] It would later move to Showtime in April 2021.[90]

On September 22, 2020, ViacomCBS president of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy told Variety in an exclusive that Paramount Network would relaunch as a movie channel "within the next year" (to be tentatively known as Paramount Movie Network). The relaunched network was to focus primarily on original made-for-TV films featuring major talent, with a plan to premiere 52 films per-year.[88] The films would have been largely produced by Paramount Pictures and MTV Studios, with plans for co-productions with ViacomCBS International networks such as Argentina's Telefe, Australia's Network 10, and the United Kingdom's Channel 5.[88] These changes would have mirrored a similar shift in programming that McCarthy undertook at sister channel Comedy Central, which also dropped live-action series development in favor of original specials, films, and adult animation.[88]

At least one scripted series or miniseries was to be carried per-quarter, such as Yellowstone (albeit with episodes premiering in a different format to suit a cinematic presentation), but the channel was to abandon non-scripted programming.[88] In preparation for the relaunch, it was stated that Bar Rescue and Lip Sync Battle would move to another ViacomCBS channel to be determined, while Ink Master and Wife Swap were both cancelled.[88]

Former Lifetime SVP of original movies Meghan Hooper White had been brought on as ViacomCBS's head of original movies and specials in May 2020,[91] and was to oversee the Paramount Movie Network slate, as well as television films and specials across all other ViacomCBS networks.[92] However, she was released from the company in August 2021 as part of a reorganization of Paramount+ and MTV Entertainment Group's executive structure.[93] In the interim, new seasons of Bar Rescue and Yellowstone would premiere on the network in 2021,[92] and in October 2021, the second season of The Last Cowboy (a reality competition series by Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan) moved to CMT.[94] Ink Master was also picked up for a new season by Paramount+.[95]

The channel also began a strategy of promoting new Paramount+ original series involving Sheridan, such as Mayor of Kingstown and Yellowstone prequel 1883, under which their initial episodes were given special television airings on Paramount Network as lead-outs for Yellowstone. 1883 would set a record for the highest-rated premiere in Paramount Network history, and on cable overall since 2015, with 4.9 million viewers. McCarthy described this practice as a method of using its linear platforms as a "launch pad" for streaming content.[96][97][98]

In January 2022, Deadline reported that the network relaunch had been shelved, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TV and film production, in addition to Yellowstone's ratings success—which had been influenced by the acquisition of streaming rights to the series by NBCUniversal's Peacock.[92] The network also acquired linear rights to the Spectrum Originals series George & Tammy.[92] During the Paramount Global upfronts in May 2022, it was announced that Yellowstone spin-off 6666 (originally announced for Paramount+) would be a Paramount Network series, the fifth season of Yellowstone would premiere in November, and that the first two episodes of Sylvester Stallone's Paramount+ series Tulsa King would receive special airings as lead-outs for Yellowstone.[99][100]

Programming

Paramount Network's current programming consists primarily of reruns of sitcoms and drama series, as well as airings of feature films. As of 2022, the network's lone original drama is Yellowstone, which launched alongside the rebranding of Spike as Paramount Network, and grew in viewership throughout its first four seasons.[101] Bar Rescue, a reality series carried over from Spike, has also continued to air new episodes on Paramount Network.[92]

As Spike, male-oriented programs constituted the majority of the network's schedule upon its original relaunch in 2003. By 2011, Spike had shifted its programming towards shows aimed at more broader audiences, such as Bar Rescue. Finally, with its 2015 rebrand, Spike attempted to add more "gender-balanced" programming.[68][69]

The network had formerly carried combat sports programming throughout its various incarnations; being the first basic cable home of mixed martial arts promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and early seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Other promotions and sports-related programming have included kickboxing events from Glory and K-1; professional wrestling from Impact Wrestling, WWE, and Extreme Championship Wrestling; boxing cards from Premier Boxing Champions; and the Paramount-owned Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing.

Website

On October 15, 2005, Viacom acquired iFilm, which was initially launched in 1997. After acquiring the website for $49 million, it was eventually rebranded to Spike.com and provided hosting of user-uploaded videos in a short-lived attempt to compete with YouTube (which Viacom had sued to remove user-generated uploads of its programming from), a strategy eventually abandoned to refocus Spike.com as a general network site. The iFilm.com domain redirected to the Screen Junkies website for a period of time.

During the era where they hosted user generated content, Spike.com's managers only approved videos pre-screened to meet their standards.[102] On January 18, 2018, Spike.com was sunsetted, and viewers were redirected to the new Paramount Network site and domain.

International availability

Canada

In April 1984, while as TNN, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the channel for carriage by Canadian cable and satellite television providers.[103] Following its re-branding as Spike TV, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters filed a complaint with the CRTC on behalf of Canwest Global, demanding the channel be removed from Canadian television providers. The CAB felt that its new general entertainment format would unduly compete with various Canadian-run specialty channels, arguing that there was overlap in its niche and its then-current schedule with Men TV (men's lifestyle), Space (Star Trek), sports channels such as TheScore (WWE), Discovery Health (interstitial segments focusing on men's health, although the network did not air any full-length programs on the topic), along with the inexplicable naming of Report on Business Television and CTV Travel for reasons unknown.[104]

In January 2005, the CRTC dismissed the CAB's complaint, ruling that it provided insufficient evidence that Spike was directly competing with Canadian specialty channels. The CRTC ruled that Spike did not unduly compete with Men TV, since it was licensed as a service that would carry men's lifestyle programming (in contrast to Spike, which the CRTC considered a general entertainment channel targeting a male audience), and that the remaining allegations of overlap with domestic Canadian specialty channels represented only a minority of Spike's overall programming.[104][105]

Due to programming rights issues, programs which the channel does not hold rights to air outside of the U.S. are replaced with alternate programs.[106][107]

Czech Republic

Prima Comedy Central was rebranded as Paramount Network on January 12, 2021.[108]

Hungary

On December 17, 2020, Paramount Channel in Hungary rebranded as the Paramount Network.[109]

Latin America

On April 14, 2020, ViacomCBS rebranded the Latin American version of Paramount Channel into Paramount Network.[110]

Netherlands

Spike rebranded as the Paramount Network in the Netherlands on May 24, 2022.[111]

Spain

In May 2018, Viacom announced that it would rebrand Paramount Channel in Spain under the Paramount Network name on June 10, 2018, marking Viacom's first property outside of the U.S. to adopt the brand. Paramount Channel in Spain had been among Viacom's most successful international properties. The channel adopted a similar general entertainment format to the U.S. version, with its launch lineup featuring the fifth season of Alaska y Mario (moving from MTV Spain), and a lineup of imported dramas and films.[112]

United Kingdom

Paramount Network launched in the UK on July 4, 2018, it is operated by the Viacom-owned network Channel 5.[113] It is the second Paramount-branded property in that market; its domestic version of Comedy Central launched as the Paramount Channel in 1995, then was Paramount Comedy from 1997 until 2009, when it took the Comedy Central name. On January 7, 2020, it replaced the British version of Spike in its channel allotments on Freeview, cable, and satellite.[114] The British version of Paramount Network was rebranded as 5Action on January 19, 2022.

Spike

Viacom began to launch localized versions of Spike in 2015.

  • On April 15, 2015, a British version of Spike was launched; owned by Viacom International Media Networks Europe, it is operated as a sister digital terrestrial television channel to Channel 5, which Viacom had acquired the previous year. Its launch lineup primarily featured Spike's original programs and reruns from its parent network, acquired U.S. drama imports (such as Breaking Bad, Justified and The Walking Dead), along with Bellator MMA and the domestic MMA promotion BAMMA.[115] On 31 October 2017, the channel changed its name to 5Spike to better-signify its connection to Channel 5's other digital networks. On 7 January 2020, 5Spike was shut down, with its channel allotments and selected programs being assumed by the British version of Paramount Network.[114]
  • On August 18, 2015, Viacom announced that a Dutch version of Spike would launch in the Netherlands and Flanders. The channel began as a timeshare on the Dutch Nickelodeon channel, airing from 21:00 to 02:30 CET daily.[116] On December 12, 2016, Spike launched in the Netherlands as a 24-hour channel on Ziggo. Spike and Nickelodeon continued time-sharing in Flanders until January 6, 2021, when Nickelodeon became a 24-hour channel again.[117][118][119][120] on May 24, 2022 Spike was replaced by Paramount Network.
  • In July 2016, an Australian version of Spike was launched on Fetch TV.[121][122][123][124]
  • On December 1, 2016, a Hungarian version of the channel named RTL Spike was launched, via brand licensing and advertising sales agreements with the RTL Group.[125] On October 20, 2020, ViacomCBS announced the channel's closure, and the closure date was confirmed on November 23 that year. RTL Spike was shut down on January 12, 2021, and was replaced by TeenNick.[126][127]
  • On March 15, 2017, a Russian version of Spike was launched as a separate channel, airing alongside the local version of Paramount Channel.[128] This channel was shut down on June 1, 2021.
  • On October 22, 2017, an Italian version of Spike was launched in the country as a free-to-air channel, replacing Fine Living on Digital TV channel 49.[129] The channel, however, ceased broadcasting on January 16, 2022.

Note

  1. ^ a b c In addition to oversight for Paramount Network, duties of the noted executives also include oversight of sister networks Comedy Central and TV Land.

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External links

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