Lip Sync Battle, Ink Master, Bar Rescue and more Spike TV shows cancelled?
On the heels of Oxygen’s transition into an all-crime network (resulting in the cancellation of most of its current shows), Spike TV is undergoing a rebranding of its own.
Per THR, the male-focused cable network will become the Paramount Network, placing the future of its upcoming and current unscripted TV shows in some doubt:
Sources tell THR that Spike chief Kevin Kay — who recently added oversight of CMT and TV Land to his purview of the Global Entertainment Group — is expected to remain in place. The rebranding could begin as early as 2018, sources say, and no personnel changes are expected to be made at this time. Representatives for Viacom and Spike declined comment, though a formal rollout strategy is expected to be part of Thursday’s call.
It’s unclear what the rebranding would mean for Spike’s current lineup, which includes upcoming scripted foray The Mist as well as unscripted hits Bar Rescue, Ink Master, Lip Sync Battle and more. Newly-minted Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is said to be plotting a strategy for the company that’s similar to the Walt Disney Co., which has had great success around its own namesake network, in creating branded entertainment that can be exploited across platforms.
Currently a home to series such as “Lip Sync Battle,” Spike, led by executive Kevin Kay, is envisioned post-rebranding as a hub that will aggregate some of the best material from Viacom’s other brands, including CMT and TV Land, which Kay gained oversight of in a move last week. But Viacom insiders insist that the company is not planning to shut down any of its struggling cable channels yet, as NBCUniversal did last month with Esquire Network.
The Paramount Network branding is consistent with Bakish’s vow to better align studio Paramount with Viacom’s cable channels. “A big part of our future is better integrating Paramount into the company and connecting it more to the work we do across media brands,” Bakish told employees last month at party marking the opening of the company’s new Hollywood office building, with board vice chair Shari Redstone and Paramount CEO Brad Grey looking on.
UPDATE: Spike TV president Kevin Kay has confirmed the rebranding, which will begin this year slated for launch in early 2018, per THR:
Today is a watershed moment for us at Spike.
It is the culmination of years of hard work transforming Spike into a premium entertainment destination. The time is right to take the next big leap forward – to capitalize on this moment when the appetite for powerful storytelling and high-quality cinematic production has never been greater in television.
The time is right for THE PARAMOUNT NETWORK.
For more than 100 years, the iconic Paramount name has been closely associated with the biggest stars and most compelling stories in all of entertainment. It’s a studio known worldwide with unparalleled brand recognition. As one of the biggest media companies in the world, Viacom has an incredibly wide-ranging portfolio of indelible brands that have unique and powerful relationships with broad and diverse audiences across the globe, including the successful Paramount Channel aired internationally, from France to Latin America to Russia.
The big news for all of us today is that Spike will re-brand as The Paramount Network over the next year – with a tentative launch scheduled for early 2018.
The Paramount Network will take Spike’s already strong programming mix and amplify it with the Paramount brand. Its focus will be on building distinctive, high-quality scripted and non-scripted original programming – with dramas, comedies, documentaries, movies, sports and tentpole events. It will also incorporate third-party programming, as well as films from other studio’s libraries.
The new leadership team under Bob Bakish has great confidence in our ability to make The Paramount Network a huge success. We will have more information to share on the re-brand in the coming weeks – and know that I intend to keep you updated along the way.
But for now, let me say how much I look forward to taking this exciting next step with you. I hope you are as fired up as I am for the future!
The ‘rebranding’ may well result in the demise in at least some Spike TV shows, but which ones?
Stay tuned as we continue monitoring the cancel/renew status of all Spike TV shows…