NASDAQ Bell Ringing Launches VH1’s The Breaks, Nostalgic 1990s Hip-Hop Follow-Up to Hit Movie

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

VH1 rolled out its new series, The Breaks, recently with an adrenaline shot opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange and a ceremonial street renaming in front of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. The events teed up the premiere of the hip-hop throwback series that followed and directly continued a VH1 movie of the same name that aired early last year, and ended up ranking as the number two cable movie of 2016.

The Breaks movie debuted last year to huge fanfare and really strong ratings, and so it became a no-brainer to take this fabulous movie to series,” said Amy Doyle, general manager of MTV, VH1 and Logo, flanked by the show’s cast and crew at NASDAQ’s opening bell podium. “The buzz on this show is palpable. Essence has deemed it, ‘VH1’s highly anticipated new series,’ and NPR is calling it – my favorite – ‘a hip-hop answer to Mad Men.’”

 

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VH1 executives and cast and crew of The Breaks gather at the NASDAQ stock exchange to ring the opening bell on Feb. 17, 2017. Photo by Christopher Galluzzo, Getty Images

Later that morning, this crew gathered again on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 44th Street in Manhattan to temporarily rename the street “The Breaks Way.”

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: Atmsphere at the VH1 street renaming "The Breaks Way" for the premiere- Monday, February 20th at 9PM ET/PT. on February 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for VH1)

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 17: Atmsphere at the VH1 street renaming “The Breaks Way” for the premiere- Monday, February 20th at 9PM ET/PT. on February 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for VH1)

The Breaks rumbles out of the unfiltered New York City of 1990, an ode to hip-hop’s gritty rise that is equal parts historical drama, nostalgia trip, and reminder that there was nothing predestined about the genre’s eventual rise.

A period piece set at a crucial juncture where rap had crept into the zeitgeist but still skirted the mainstream, the series immerses us within a crew of fictional stand-ins who shoulder the mighty task of recreating that frantic era: a wily and determined Nikki Jones (Afton Williamson), her boyfriend and radio station rookie David Aaron (David Call), aspiring producer DeeVee (Tristan “Mack” Wilds), hip-hop manager Barry Fouray (Wood Harris), and drug dealer-cum-rapper Ahm (Antoine Harris).

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Channel 5’s Powerful Slum Britain: 50 Years On Stirs Viewers, Spurs Parliament

Last December, Viacom’s UK-based Channel 5 screened a 90-minute documentary, Slum Britain: 50 Years On, which cleverly compared the housing and homeless crisis of today with the situation 50 years ago. It was a powerful piece of television created through a rewarding partnership with housing charity Shelter using unique photographs of the slums commissioned by the organization from the 1960s.

Producers Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis (who incidentally were nominated for an Oscar for their film, Watani: My Homeland, on Syrian refugees in Germany) combined a strong human interest story with a powerful argument, making Slum Britain: 50 Years On essential viewing.

At 90 minutes, with black-and-white visuals and a seriously angry point of view about the conditions many of our fellow citizens endure in 2016 Britain, the project was a risk. The film rated better than we anticipated, with more than 1 million people tuning in for the whole film.

Slum Britain - Images sent to Shelter by Nick Hedges in January 2016 for the 50th anniversary. Nick Hedges was commissioned by Shelter to cover poor housing conditions and abject poverty in the UK between 1968 and 1972. According to a 1965 White Paper, 'three million families were living in slums, near slums or grossly overcrowded conditions' in the UK. The Hedges archive is part of the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Slum Britain – Images sent to Shelter by Nick Hedges in January 2016 for the 50th anniversary. Nick Hedges was commissioned by Shelter to cover poor housing conditions and abject poverty in the UK between 1968 and 1972. According to a 1965 White Paper, ‘three million families were living in slums, near slums or grossly overcrowded conditions’ in the UK. The Hedges archive is part of the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The reaction from viewers across social media was amazing – I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a powerful, immediate and supportive response.

And not just from viewers. In partnership with Shelter, we had previewed the film and held a discussion chaired by David Mackintosh MP (Member of Parliament), chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, who has an ongoing campaign to raise the issue of Britain’s housing crisis in the House of Commons.

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Paramount Channel Vietnam: Five Things You Should Know About Viacom’s Latest International Launch

Viacom’s Paramount Channel already has a robust worldwide footprint, with networks spanning Europe, South America, and Asia. The channel has unique programming in 12 countries, including Spain, Russia, Sweden and now one more: Vietnam.
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Critics “Spellbound” With “Beautiful and Thought-Provoking” Arrival

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
A scene from the film ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

A scene from the film Arrival by Paramount Pictures

We don’t really know if or when space aliens will drop out of the sky, or whether they’ll come bearing the secrets of interstellar travel or a boring machine to hallow out Earth’s core. But we do know this: when Denis Villeneuve-directed Arrival invades theaters tomorrow, we’re going to collectively witness one of the most well-crafted guesses yet as to how the encounter between earthlings and interstellar guests could go.

Says who? Well, pretty much everyone:

Arrival is such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost single-handedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you’ve ever seen. Yes, even Independence Day: Resurgence. The latest from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is a sci-fi movie about life, death and learning a literally alien language on a deadline. Amy Adams turns in one of her best performances, Jeremy Renner shows he’s just as good a math geek as an Avenger, and Villeneuve puts a gorgeous and rich narrative on screen that’s as much about miscommunication among humans as it is communication with extraterrestrials.” – Bill Truitt, USA Today

“The dozen alien vessels in Arrival – stormcloud black, prolate hemispheroids the size of upended airports – aren’t easy to miss. But for sheer neck-craning scale, the film’s ideas and ambitions match them inch for inch. The magnificent new film from Denis Villeneuve is the kind of science fiction picture that hands its audience rocket packs, then goes arcing off into the heavens and dares you to keep up.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Arrival plays like a high-end, handsomely appointed, feature-length version of a classic Twilight Zone episode. Most of the thrills and chills are of the intellectual and philosophical sort, and we’re asked to take a leap of faith when it comes to the time-space continuum, and why not, let’s do it.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

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Viacom Remains the Top Cable Family, Digital Traffic Surges & More Q4 Highlights

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

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As Viacom reports fourth quarter and full-year earnings, there is great momentum driving many of our brands: The top reality show on cable, an enormous surge in VMA streams, the 20th anniversary of South Park, the continued surge in ratings at TV Land and VH1. Check out the details in the slides above.

Behind this strong programming, Viacom continues its long run as the most-viewed family of cable networks, with the most non-sports shows in the top 20 and more than half of the top children’s programs. We’ve also seen a surge in digital, mobile and social consumption:

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Check Out This Video Calendar of Viacom’s Upcoming Premieres

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

There’s a whole lot coming up at Viacom over the next few months.

Paramount sends aliens hurtling from the cosmos and Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard back to World War II. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis dazzle in Fences while Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman burn down the city in Office Christmas Party.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg team up on VH1really – for what is likely to be the dopest cooking show around. America’s Next Top Model returns to the same net. We wave goodbye to MTV’s Teen Wolf, but meet a pair of bad-ass campus vigilantes on Sweet/Vicious.

Original content continues to rule across our networks, from TV Land’s smash hit Younger to CMT’s January debut of Nashville to BET’s Being Mary Jane and New Edition biopic. Spike delivers some hard truth with a documentary on the tragic story of Kalief Browder.

And more favorites keep pouring back in: RuPaul returns with season six of RuVealed on Logo while The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and @Midnight continue their runs on Comedy Central.

And for the kiddos, Nick keeps the incredible stuff coming with Albert and Rusty Rivetsalong with a nostalgic run back to the 90s with a Legends of the Hidden Temple movie.

Watch previews of all of this and much more below:

TV’s Top Animated House Gets Louder With Season Three Renewal

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

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They’re partying right now at The Loud House. And no wonder: Nick’s rollicking portrait of young Lincoln Loud growing up as the only boy in a house of 10 sisters is a smash hit. It’s the number one animated show on television, with an average of 2 million viewers per episode, and the net just renewed it for a third season. Read all about it by clicking through below:

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VIMN Velocity Is International Media Brand of the Year

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The 27th M&M Global Awards, held in London last week, are a pretty big-deal event.

How big? Ask Viacom International Media Networks President Bob Bakish.

“The M&M Global Awards are the Media, Marketing & Advertising event in the UK,” he wrote in a note to employees earlier this week.

The occasion for Bakish’s note was simple: to congratulate the Viacom Velocity International group for taking International Media Brand of the Year at this hugely important event.

The Viacom Velocity Team Poses With Their M&M Global Award for International Media Brand of the Year

The Viacom Velocity Team Poses With Their M&M Global Award for International Media Brand of the Year

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2016 MTV VMAs: The Multi-Platform Juggernaut Smashing Our Video Records

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

There really isn’t anything else to add to the graphic below, other than “wow.” The MTV VMAs, a decades-long cultural mainstay, continue to evolve in startling ways that flood the matrix of digital and social channels where our fans live. Get the details below, the highlights (Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna, Drake and more) here, and the full show here.

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