As It Looks Toward Rebrand, Paramount Network Turns to Premium Scripted Fare

by Paige Albiniak  |  03.30.2017

Viacom is preparing to turn niche male-focused network Spike into a general entertainment channel Paramount Network. The next step toward making that happen is finding high-quality scripted series to pair with its unscripted favorites — such as Lip Sync Battle, which Viacom renewed for season four on Thursday — as well as original sports and specials.

“Our mission is to establish Paramount Network as a prime destination for premium storytelling,” said Kevin Kay, president, Paramount Network, TV Land, and CMT in a statement. “From Alicia Silverstone as a trailblazing independent working mother in the 1970’s to Michael Shannon as an FBI negotiator during the Branch Davidians dramatic standoff and siege, Paramount Network will be the home to compelling stories, unforgettable characters, and high quality production with a distinctive global appeal.” 

The new network’s new shows include American Woman, starring Silverstone and Mena Suvari; six-part limited series Waco, starring Shannon, John Leguizamo and Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh; a remake of the popular 1988 Winona Ryder-Christian Slater movie, Heathers; and two-hour documentary I Am Martin Luther King Jr. 

Both American Woman and Heathers came to Paramount Network from TV Land, reports Deadline, which Kay also oversees. Paramount Network also plans to reboot First Wives’ Club, which had been in development but was eventually passed on by TV Land. Paramount Network plans to give that project another shot.

As for Nashville, which moved to CMT this year, it has 11 more episodes to go in this season, after losing lead Connie Britton in the middle of the season. While Kay sounds upbeat about the show in his interview with Deadline, he’s non-committal on whether it will return to the network. 

“We will see how the audience reacts to Nashville and the next 11 episodes but I believe that there are great fans of the show and it’s got a good future ahead of it, we are encouraged that we can continue to do it,” Kay told Deadline.

Paramount Network also will hang on to breakout hit Lip Sync Battle, hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen. Also premiering new seasons in 2018 will be Ink Master, Bar Rescue, and Bellator MMA.

READ MORE: Deadline

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