The Paramount Network, a basic cable television channel owned by ViacomCBS that has changed its name multiple times, has just changed its name yet again. It’s now the Paramount Movie Network, and the plan is to now have the channel move away from unscripted programming and will instead focus on a cinematic experience. In fact, the push for a cinematic experience is so strong that Paramount is even considering airing two episodes of scripted shows like Yellowstone back-to-back with very limited commercials.
Before we get to the new and improved Paramount Movie Network, here’s a brief history of the many different names this channel has had over the years. Back in 1983, the channel was created as a partnership between radio station WSM and Westinghouse Broadcasting and named The Nashville Network. The channel catered to a Southern audience, with programming devoted to country music, car racing, and so on. The network was purchased by the Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1983, and in 1991, Gaylord also purchased CMT, Country Music Television. As a result, the music content on The Nashville Network shifted to CMT.
The channel remained The Nashville Network until 2000, at which point its new owner, Viacom, decided to rebrand for a wider audience. The name was changed to The National Network, and began airing stuff like WWF Raw. By 2003, the name had changed again, this time to Spike TV, with an emphasis on drawing in a young male audience. Spike TV became just Spike by 2006, and by 2018, another change came, with the channel becoming The Paramount Network. And now, per Variety, they’re changing yet again.
The plan involves changing the name to The Paramount Movie Network, with an emphasis on movies. This involves plans for “52 original movies per year on the network, or one movie per week” and the cancelation of unscripted shows like Ink Master, Wife Swap, and Battle of the Fittest Couples. Scripted shows like Yellowstone will remain, but Paramount is so committed to its movie-based rebranding that they’re considering airing the show as a “cinematic experience, possibly programming two episodes in a single night with limited commercial interruptions.”
Bigger productions will now hail from Paramount Pictures, while others will come from MTV Studios, and ViacomCBS will also work with “international partners like Network 10, Channel 5, and Telefe on certain films.”
Regarding the big changes, Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment and youth brands for ViacomCBS domestic media networks, said: “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.”
Look for these changes next year.
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