Rebranded Paramount Network is gunning for TV dominance

Rebranded Paramount Network is gunning for TV dominance

You’ve possible seen subway posters for the brand new Paramount Sequence “Waco,” with Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon furrowing his forehead towards a dusty panorama.

And, for those who’re pondering that Paramount is a movie studio, you’re not alone.

“The viewers notion is that Paramount means films,” says Kevin Kay, president of the newly minted Paramount Community (in addition to fellow Viacom-owned properties TV Land and CMT). “Our problem is to ensure folks know that there are unique collection.

“It’s a TV community.”

Two upcoming Paramount Community collection embody “American Girl,” with star Alicia Silverstone (above heart), and “Yellowstone” (under), a sweeping drama a couple of ranching household in Montana starring Kevin Costner.Paramount NetworkParamount NetworkParamount Community, previously Spike TV, launched Jan. 24 with its inaugural unique collection “Waco,” starring Shannon and Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night time Lights”). Along with scripted originals, Paramount has migrated Spike’s largest hits, together with “Lip Sync Battle” and “Ink Grasp,” over to the brand new community terrain.

“We needed to create a vacation spot for premium scripted programing on cable,” says Kay. “We have been Spike for 14 years and [we] did a variety of nice issues. However one of many large obstacles was [broadening] from being only a community for males.”

Paramount’s makes an attempt to draw ladies embody a ’70s-era collection, “American Girl” — starring Alicia Silverstone (premiering June 7) — and the TV reimagining of the ’80s film “Heathers” (March 7). Two of the community’s different flagship reveals, nonetheless, face an unanticipated impediment; “Waco” and the upcoming sweeping Western household saga “Yellowstone” (created by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan and starring Kevin Costner) each originated as high-profile Weinstein TV tasks.

“The minute we understood the severity and the fact of what went on [with Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of assault], we instantly picked up the telephone, known as the Weinstein firm, and stated, ‘There’s not going to be any extra affiliation with Harvey Weinstein. He must be scrubbed from the credit,’” says Kay. “To be sincere, they agreed with us. It was not a troublesome dialogue.”

Model confusion and Weinstein affiliation apart, Paramount Community’s most important problem is the sheer scope of the competitors.

“Folks watch TV in a different way than they used to,” says Kay. “It’s not only a linear world anymore; it’s a world of cell and digital. We needed to take an enormous step up and supply one thing completely different from different platforms.”

However within the age of Peak TV, how does a brand new community distinguish itself?

Kevin Kay, Paramount Community presidentGetty Photographs“A number of our rivals do reveals round New York and LA,” says Kay. “Setting [‘Yellowstone’] in Montana is a special world than what we’re used to seeing on TV. Darkish and edgy is one thing our rivals do effectively. Our reveals are definitely going to be edgy — I might level at ‘Heathers’ — however there’s additionally a spot for blue sky.”

Kay says that although creating status TV for center America is a aim, his imaginative and prescient is expansive. “It’s important to have a broad viewers, and the most individuals are going to be in New York and LA and Chicago and Dallas and Houston,” he says. “However I do really feel that the South and the Midwest are under-represented on TV, and that’s an actual alternative.”

When requested about Paramount Community’s rivals, Kay cites FX and AMC as shut parallels to what the community is attempting to realize. “However there’s this nice scene in ‘Yellowstone’ the place Kevin Costner’s daughter says to her father, ‘Inform us who to battle’ and he simply leans down, offers her slightly kiss on the cheek, and says, ‘Everybody.’

“However I have a look at, ‘Who’re we competing for expertise with?’ and that’s actually everybody. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple … All of those persons are paying a number of cash to very gifted folks that we wish to be in enterprise with.”