Transformers Return, The Mist Creeps In, Logo Honors Trailblazers, Bellator Hits MSG, 17th BET Awards Air – All in a Spectacular Weekend for Viacom

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

This is an extraordinary week for Viacom, a showcase of our diverse properties and the incredible power of our brands, sprawled across theaters, televisions and event spaces all over the world.

On Wednesday, the fifth Transformers movie opened in theaters. Thursday brought Spike’s mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. Friday we celebrate Pride month with Logo’s Trailblazer Honors. Saturday is perhaps the marquee night in Bellator history, as the Spike-owned property drops into New York City’s Madison Square Garden. And Sunday takes us to the West Coast, where BET will broadcast their marquee BET Awards.

As Viacom refocuses under the leadership of CEO Bob Bakish, this rapid-fire concentration of noteworthy properties distills the impressive breadth and depth of Viacom’s multi-brand portfolio.

Here’s a day-by-day look at what’s already dropped and what’s to come over the weekend:

Wednesday, June 21 – Transformers: The Last Knight – Paramount Pictures

It is the fifth installment in the live-action Transformers spectaculars directed by Michael Bay, an intriguing collision of ancient epochs with the robot alien present, and a special effects masterpiece.

“…[I]f you’re not staggered by the technique on display here – the stuff that sets Bay’s work miles above the Fast & Furiouses, X-Men: Apocalypses and Tom Cruise-chasing Mummies of this world – you’re not paying attention,” writes The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin.

Here’s a preview of what he’s talking about:

Since the first Transformers movie hit theaters in 2007, the franchise has raked in nearly $4 billion for Paramount and redefined important elements of the movie industry. “Ever since the first movie in the robo-franchise was released into theaters a decade ago, the film industry has changed its approach to producing, releasing and reporting on movies,” writes The Street’s Buster Coen, noting that the films legitimized toy-to-cinema adaptations, stamped June as a month for movie blockbusters, and set the template for international distribution of American films.

Transformers: The Last Knight is in theaters around the world now. A Bumblebee spin-off is scheduled for release next summer.

Thursday, June 22 – The Mist Spike

With a cast of complex characters unified by their small-town setting, the deft use of suspense and drama, and some imaginative writing, Spike has transformed Stephen King’s 1980 novella about a sinister, monster-filled cloud descending upon a small Maine town into a 10-part serial that debuted last night.

And it’s really good, according to a platoon of critics who got an advanced look at the pilot. “Spike’s new series based on The Mist … wasn’t written by King, but it does the author proud ,” writes CNET’s Gael Fashingbauer Cooper.

The series was written, rather, by a team led by Denmark native Christian Torpe, who is a lifelong King fan and consulted with the author at the project’s outset. King simply told him, “Don’t do anything ordinary.”

Torpe appears to have succeeded, leaving even those familiar with King’s original work in suspense. “It’s hard to judge where this newer, looser adaptation might progress from just the first hour, but Torpe has said that, like King, he intends to explore the nature of fanaticism, and how fear so often compels people to seek out unlikely prophets,” writes The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert. “If so, The Mist could be a satisfyingly complex chiller, scaring viewers not just with unexpected jumps and amped-up creepy crawlies, but with the more human monsters who are all trapped together inside, waiting out the weather.”

The Mist premieres at a time of incredible momentum for Spike, which will evolve into the premium TV Paramount Network in January of next year. While the network is still determining an exact programming lineup, they have already announced Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner, a six-part documentary on Trayvon Martin produced in conjunction with The Weinstein Company, American Woman starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, a six-part Waco series documenting the 1993 stand-off at the Branch Dividian compound, and a television adaptation of the 1988 classic film Heathers.

Friday, June 23 – Logo Trailblazer Honors – Logo

The fourth installment of Logo’s marquee event follows last year’s emotional outpouring of defiant pride in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub massacre.

This year, the ceremony will continue Logo’s tradition of acknowledging leaders in the LGBT equality movement when it honors Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper.

Mutchnick and Kohan’s iconic show, “laid [the ground work] for broader LGBTQ acceptance and understanding within mainstream American culture,” Logo explained, with its depiction of an openly gay male couple in leading roles on a major network in primetime.

Lauper, whose True Colors Fund assists homeless LGBT youth, has been a long-time advocate in the community.

Watch the Trailblazer Honors on Logo and VH1 at 9 p.m. Friday.

Saturday, June 24 – Bellator MMA 180 at MSG – Spike

Spike is not taking much of a breather after its Thursday evening debut of The Mist.

On Saturday, Spike-owned Bellator MMA descends upon Madison Square Garden, in the center of New York City, with an explosive fight card so deep that the event is being declared one of the greatest ever before it’s even begun.

“The biggest MMA event of all-time is upon us,” writes 411 Mania’s Jeremy Lambert. “This Friday night, Bellator will grace us with a pay-per-view worthy of the term ‘stacked.’ … While UFC fighters would rather partake in boxing bouts and the rest of the MMA world crumbles, Bellator rises above the competition by giving fans the fights and moments we crave.”

A long-awaited battle between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen. Fedor Emelianenko versus Matt Mitrione. Douglas Lima versus Lorenz Larkin. Phil Davis versus Ryan Bader. Brent Primus versus Michael Chandler. The return of Mike Goldberg to narrate it all.

“Bellator MMA President Scott Coker likes to dream big and Saturday night is just that and more,” writes the Los Angeles Daily News’ Damian Calhoun.


The event fires off for free on Spike at 10 p.m. ET and then continues on Pay Per View. If you’re going to be in the New York area, you can buy tickets here.

Sunday, June 25 – BET Awards – BET

After all that, the weekend comes to a magnificent coda with the 17th BET Awards, a spectacular evening of entertainment and celebration hosted by Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones.

Beyoncé leads with seven nomiations, while Bruno Mars is up for five awards and Solange, Chance the Rapper and Migos each earned four nods. Here’s a bit more on who’s competing for what:

You can view the full list here.

A pair of honorees have already been announced. Iconic R&B group New Edition (Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill) with the Lifetime Achievement Award. BET’s The New Edition Story biopic was an ratings and critical smash when it aired earlier this year on BET. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper, renowned for his efforts to curb gun violence and promote education in his hometown of Chicago, will receive the Humanitarian Award presented by Walmart.

Bruno Mars, Future, Migos, Trey Songz and Tamar Braxton will perform. Yara Shahidi, Cardi B, Issa Rae, Jamie Foxx, La La Anthony, the cast of Universal Pictures’ Girls Trip, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah, Robin Thede, Cari Champion and Demetrius Shipp Jr. will also take part in the show.

The event will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. Sunday on BET and select other Viacom networks.

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