Paramount Network is a ViacomCBS-owned general entertainment network named after the Paramount Pictures film studio. The network is meant to be an analog to AMC and FX, in that it's known for prestige television on par with premium pay TV networks, such as HBO and Showtime. So far, however... it hasn't exactly worked out.
The network is a relaunch of what was formally known as Spike TV, aka the "First Network for Men" (at least until Network Decay settled in), which itself was a relaunch of the country music network TNN, before it became a general entertainment network to avoid redundancy with CMT. Spike would revert to the latter format in 2015, not only as a result of declining ratings, but also due to the channel gaining just as much viewership from women as it did from men.
In 2017, after declining TV ratings, sagging box office returns, and their last failed attempt to re-merge with CBS Corporation, Viacom unveiled a five-point turnaround plan where the company would put all its resources behind six "flagship brands". In addition to Paramount, these were Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV, Comedy Central, and BET.
Spike, which was already going through the aforementioned Network Decay and Audience Shift, relaunched as Paramount Network on January 18, 2018, in order to strengthen the connection between the television side and the film studio. Under Viacom's strategy, the network had already picked up several shows that were originally meant for sibling networks, such as the TV Land comedy Nobodies. The network would also add syndicated sitcoms such as Two and a Half Men to its programming mix.
Paramount Network's first year would draw mixed results, with Spike's holdover programming remaining intact and the second season renewal of Yellowstone being the only positive takeaways. Nobodies would move back to TV Land after only two episodes and be canceled shortly afterwards, while Heathers suffered from negative reviews, was pushed back due to a school shooting, and nearly dropped altogether due to another school shooting. The rest of Paramount's new scripted programming would be scrapped after a season each. At the start of The New '20s, Paramount Network's original programming still primarily consists of non-scripted programs aside from Yellowstone, along with tons of reruns. As if to twist the knife further, Spike made a comeback in 2019 via Viacom's newly-acquired streaming service Pluto TV, which added two Spike-branded networks showing older Spike originals.
Internationally, Paramount Network was first rolled out to Spain in June 2018, replacing the original Paramount Channel; an otherwise unrelated, international brand that primarily deals in movies from the Paramount film library. The network launched next on July 4, 2018 in the United Kingdom where, coincidentally, Viacom also operates a British version of Spike—a Channel 5 sibling that was later renamed to 5Spike—effectively making it a sibling to the very same brand it replaced in the U.S. The two networks would merge in 2020.
Not to be confused with the short-lived Paramount Television Network, the United Paramount Network, or the aforementioned Paramount Channel.
Original Programming on Paramount Network includes (a (*) indicates a holdover from Spike TV):
- Bar Rescue(*)
- Bellator MMA & Kickboxing(*)
- Heathers — An anthology series based on the film of the same name. After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the series was pushed back from its March 2018 television launch. Viacom later dropped the series altogether after the Santa Fe High School shooting in May 2018. Ultimately, the series was shown in a week-long event from October 25 to 29, 2018.
- Ink Master(*)
- Lip Sync Battle(*)
- Nobodies. — TV Land Original series. Paramount aired the first two episodes of season two before moving back to TV Land due to ratings. The series would be canceled at the end of the season.
- Waco — a six-episode miniseries based on A Place Called Waco by David Thibodeau & Leon Whiteson.
- Wife Swap — a 2019 revival of the ABC series.