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Pop Chief Talks Expanding Network’s Identity

Pop, the joint venture from CBS and Lionsgate, is ramping up its original programming slate. The network’s slate of scripted series now includes four series set to air in the next year — three comedies and a horror drama, “Wolf Creek.” As the network expands its scope, it is also attempting to expand its identity.

“One of the things I’ve been pleasantly surprised at is the elasticity that our brand has had,”  Pop president Brad Schwartz said Sunday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “We spent a lot of time building the brand and throwing it out into the world. You never quite know how it’s going to live.”

CBS and Lionsgate relaunched the former TV Guide Network last year as Pop, shifting the focus of the channel under Schwartz to one focused on original programming rooted in fan culture. “Wolf Creek,” and Australian acquisition, appears to be a departure from that identity — a dark thriller based on a successful series of horror films.

Schwartz claimed that, rather then being separate from the brand, he show is a new extension of it.

“What’s amazing about being a brand that really focuses on fandom and has that exciting, optimistic view of things, you can really be fans of a lot of different things and champion a lot of different things,” Schwartz said. He added, “Strong brands can do anything. … Once you have a brand and a voice that you stay true to, you should be able to try a lot of different things.”

Pop on Sunday gave a series order to “The Joey Mac Project,” a half-hour comedy starring New Kids on the Block alum Joey McIntyre. The network also announced that another new comedy, “Nightcap,” will premiere Wednesday, Nov. 16.

 

 

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