When Paramount Television (Viacom’s independent production studio) launched in 2013, the studio opted to produce an ambitious first project for Fox: Grease: Live. The live televised special was a remake of the classic 1978 film Grease, and incorporated songs from the original movie, as well as a live studio audience to simulate the effects of a Broadway performance.
The show was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, and won five—more than any other televised musical in history. It was also the no. 1 most social live musical event ever. It was the most-watched program when it aired on Jan. 31, 2016, with over 12 million viewers tuning in to watch the impressive performance, which critics called “skillfully directed” and “true to the original.”
The most vital part of this production, according to reviews, was the production itself.
“Buoyed by tremendous camera work, fleet-footed choreography…and a sound mix that was fuller (or less tinny) than any comparable production that’s come before it, Grease built on the live (but not in front of a live audience) musicals championed by rival NBC over the last three years,” wrote Michael Slezak for TVLine.com.
How did a new production studio achieve such tremendous results from their first endeavor?
President of Paramount TV Amy Powell explains her strategy. “As content creators, we look for new and exciting opportunities that will appeal to audiences and find the right platform for our series,” said Powell. “We partner with top-notch talent and distributors that share in our vision and give creators the freedom to bring the content to life.”
By tapping Paramount’s rich content library and opening itself to collaborations with rival entertainment platforms, Paramount TV is a shining example of media industry synergy. The studio believes that partnerships are key—creating top-tier entertainment is a result of having the best ideas, and if those ideas come from external individuals or companies, it’s imperative to find a way to bring them together. Paramount TV is making this happen.
The studio’s original goal was to create one drama and two on-air comedies in three years. It easily surpassed that, creating a constellation of content that includes the Emmy Award-winning television musical special Grease: Live, Nickelodeon’s Emmy-nominated musical comedy School of Rock, EPIX’s critically acclaimed espionage drama series Berlin Station, USA Network’s hit series Shooter, Netflix’s teen drama 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Amazon action drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.
These projects are just some of Paramount TV’s scintillating endeavors.
Check out this infographic below for a full list of upcoming content:
Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish is pleased with Paramount TV’s fledgling triumphs and hopeful of its future potential.
“Having a successful TV production business attached to the studio provides helpful consistency in cash flows, and I believe it is fundamental to the success of the studio,” Bakish said on the first-quarter 2017 earnings call.
Bakish praised Powell for “building the studio’s small screen and online division up from scratch,” according to an interview with Variety. “She’s doing a great job and there’s a lot more growth in that segment of the market.”
One of Paramount TV’s most buzzworthy projects of 2017 was the Netflix miniseries, 13 Reasons Why. The controversial drama tackled teen suicide, drug abuse, child neglect and bullying and became a social media titan. Entertainment Weekly featured the series on its May cover issue, calling it “The most daring show on television.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) May 11, 2017
Based upon the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher, the message is “about the way we raise boys up into men and the way we treat girls and women in our culture — and what we could do better in both cases,” according to showrunner Brian Yorkey.
Yorkey has a diverse background as a playwright (a Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning one, at that) and after the smashing success of 13 Reasons Why, it’s safe to assume he could have chosen to continue his career with any number of production studios.
Yet Paramount TV signed a deal with Yorkey in May, giving the studio exclusive rights to “develop, produce, and distribute all television projects from Yorkey across broadcast, cable, and digital services,” for the next two years.
It’s a winning match for both parties, as the team moves forward with the show’s second season.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled or more honored to be making my television home at Paramount,” said Yorkey in an interview with Variety. “Amy Powell is a visionary leader and a smart, stalwart collaborator, and her team is passionate, resourceful, and incredibly supportive. I’m excited to continue our 13 Reasons Why journey together and find our future adventures as well.”
For Paramount TV, partnerships are vital to success in an industry that’s overflowing with new ways to consume media. And thanks to the company’s proven success with hits such as 13 Reasons Why, Shooter and Grease: Live, it has built a reputation as a pipeline for future hits. Now, partners are flocking to Paramount TV.
In August, Paramount TV signed a first-look deal with juggernaut management company, Anonymous Content. This is the company responsible for cultivating some of the most buzzworthy TV in recent years: Mr. Robot, True Detective, The Knick, Berlin Station and 13 Reasons Why.
Paramount TV Extends First-Look Deal With Anonymous Content https://t.co/eKX45Svb7g
— Variety (@Variety) August 7, 2017
Both studios have worked in tandem since 2014, and will continue to focus on projects including TNT’s upcoming psychological thriller, The Alienist, starring Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans and Daniel Bruhl, and Netflix’s Maniac, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. The companies also recently acquired rights to Stupid Idiots, a web series written by Stephanie Koenig.
The deal, which extends until 2019, gives Paramount TV the privilege of having first dibs on new Anonymous Content projects. It’s the first time a production studio has landed a deal of this breadth.
“Collaborating with Amy Powell, Jim Gianopulos and their incredible team has been deeply rewarding,” said Anonymous Content CEO Steve Golin in an interview with Variety. “We look forward to expanding upon the great slate of content we have developed together.”
Follow @ParamountTV to keep up with new shows and projects.