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Viacom to Rebrand Spike TV as Paramount Network

Viacom will rebrand Spike TV as Paramount Network. Sources tell Variety that the move is part of a new company-wide strategy set to be unveiled by CEO Bob Bakish Thursday.

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.

Speculation is also circulating that Bakish’s new strategy may include a further alignment or even merger of MTV and VH1, both led by Chris McCarthy.

Bakish is likely to move to centralize many functions across networks and eventually prune some minor channels, such as MTV and Nickelodeon spinoffs, from the company’s portfolio.

In his address to shareholders this week, Bakish promised to unveil “points of pain” during Thursday’s call unveiling his new strategy.

Bakish was named permanent CEO of Viacom in December after Shari and Sumner Redstone, whose family company holds a controlling stake in the Viacom, scrapped discussions of a merger between Viacom and CBS, which the Redstones also control.

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