Viacom’s live event business is booming. Just this past year, the company has launched Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, a first-of-its-kind music and comedy hybrid festival; Bellator MMA came to New York’s Madison Square Garden; and Nickelodeon brought Bikini Bottom to Broadway via the smash hitSpongeBob SquarePants the Musical.
Now, Nickelodeon will add to this growing constellation of live experiences with a two-day immersive music festival called…you guessed it…NickelodeonSlimeFest.
Nickelodeon debuted this kid-friendly festival in Australia, and has since slimed fans around the globe with events in South Africa, Italy, the UK and Spain. Now, the green goo is coming to the U.S., emphasizing the power and reach of Viacom’s global properties. It makes sense: outstanding events are universally appreciated, and slime is slime regardless of what language you speak.
The World Economic Forum is concerned that, if nothing changes, full global gender parity is likely 217 years away.
Viacom thinks that we should start closing that gap today.
Today, March 8, is a good day for it: it’s International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual celebration of change-makers fighting for gender equality. Viacom, along with other media companies, nonprofit organizations, charities, politicians, entrepreneurs and activists around the globe, will celebrate women in a tradition dating back to the suffrage movements of the early 20th century.
Remember when @AliciaKeys said her mum taught her to be a strong woman at the @VH1 Dear Mama? 👏
Today, Viacom brands, talent and executives will spread a message of equality and social activism through the company’s global platforms, through a series of fan and employee events, and through support for larger movements lending a megaphone to women’s collective voice.
Here’s the breakdown on how Viacom will promote International Women’s Day:
The MTV Movie & TV Awards continue to forge a path of diversity, inclusion and all-around awesomeness. Last year, the network tentpole revamped its award parameters, doing away with gendered categories and doling out buckets of golden popcorn to those who helped produce the best of film, television and digital media.
Haddish is pumped, to say the least. The star shared a video with her 1.8 million Instagram followers to announce the news. “It’s gonna be off the chain,” said Haddish. “Because you know why? I’m hosting! And you know what that means ― it’s gonna be hilarious.”
On Thursday, Jan. 4, CMT’s beloved country soap Nashville returned for its sixth and final season. 1.6 million viewers joined them, a testament to the loyal “Nashie” fan base hooked by season five’s plot twists—including the death of a major character (Connie Britton’s Rayna Jaymes), police misconduct and racial profiling, song stealing and scheming, dramatic hookups and breakups…accompanied by melodic country harmonies, of course.
Nashville started 2018 with the highest ratings since its midseason five premiere. And according to Nielsen, Nashville’s debut was the night’s top social entertainment cable program—with #NashvilleCMT trending nationally on Twitter.
“The final season is truly the culmination of the incredible journey of each of these beloved characters,” said Keith Cox, president of development for Paramount, CMT and TV Land. “We want to give the fans, who fought so passionately to bring the show to CMT, a spectacular ending and great payoff.”
Watch a teaser for the next episode:
“The continued success of ‘Nashville’ remains a critical and defining part of our 2018 plan and a vital building block towards a strong future,” said Frank Tanki, general manager of CMT and TV Land. “Once again, the team has pushed themselves on all fronts and it’s absolutely amazing to see all these moving parts come together so smartly and loudly.”
The strong tune-in for the premiere follows a record-breaking 2017, in which CMT scored 53 consecutive weeks of ratings growth, underscoring the fact that Nashville is just one part of a diverse CMT programming roster that encompasses a bit of everything—from unscripted dramas to innovative digital content.
Music City, for example, is a docu-series created by famed executive producer Adam DiVello, who also helmed iconic MTV reality dramas Laguna Beach and The Hills.
Watch a teaser for Music City:
Music City is filmed in Nashville, with a cast of young, up-and-coming musicians struggling to make it in a cutthroat industry—much like The Hills, which gave viewers an inside look at fledgling fashionstas Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag as they tried to succeed in Hollywood.
Watch a throwback clip of The Hills:
This sort of unscripted docu-series has broad appeal: I was a rabid fan of The Hills, even though I didn’t share career aspirations as future fashion mogul Conrad (I tuned in for the personality conflicts, delectable drama and luxurious landscape), and I’ll probably watch Music City, even though I’m not a country music fan. It’s enticing to watch young professionals engage in a heightened state of reality, vying for their dream career (especially now that I’m around the same age as the cast members).
And the network is meeting fans on all platforms – CMT’s 2018 slate includes three new short-form digital series, exclusive for YouTube: How To Wear, Street Art Stories, and The Downtown Farmer.
There’s plenty more to come. After a raucous season that embedded itself deeply enough into the national conversation to earn the honor of a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit, MTV announced that Floribama Shorewould return for 20 episodes starting this summer. The net also dropped another Family Vacation promo, this time asking viewers to help decide where the f*&% the OG cast will go by using the hashtag #JSFamilyVacation.
To understand the show’s popularity, it helps to examine its layers.
Watching an episode of Floribama Shore is akin to hopping into a time portal, transporting you to a bygone era of hot pin Polo T-shirts with the collar popped and “going-out tops” (aka the early aughts) that is somehow fused with 1950s sensibility.
It’s a world where a 23-year-old divorcée is fraught with anxiety over potential spinsterhood, and a gorgeous 24-year-old woman frets over aging. The male contestants at once act hyper-macho and are quintessential Southern gentleman. Imagine living life on the set of A Streetcar Named Desire, surrounded by the scent of Hollister cologne.
Of course, this group of twentysomethings partied as hard as their predecessors, but they also prayed before dinner and had thoughtful, seemingly unscripted conversations about their lives—one cast member had been homeless before the show, and another was reeling from the end of a 10-year relationship after her boyfriend cheated on her with her cousin. (This was, according to her, an “Alabama thing.”)
These deep conversations about real-life issues are perhaps what won over fans and critics, enough to earn the show a second season. In a Rolling Stone review, writer Kory Grow said Floribama Shore revealed “soul” and lauded MTV for showing “a group of eight red-state denizens, who, despite their personal flaws, did not espouse any outward Trumpism (or for that matter, Hillary hating). They all found common ground with each other easily – praying, discussing their Christianity and talking about their families.”
These poignant musical moments stood out to Billboard critics: Kendrick Lamar’s raw, rapid-fire delivery of DNA and Humble at the VMAs; the moment when Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid sang out for suicide prevention (also at the VMAs); New Edition’s epic reunion performance at the BET Awards (a swaggering fusion of OG members and the cast of BET’s biopic, The New Edition Story), Camila Cabello’s EMA performance of Havana; and Missy Elliot’s old-school rendering of her classic banger She’s a Bitch at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.
Let’s take another look at these phenomenal performances. Here are Billboard’s top Viacom picks:
Kendrick Lamar, “DNA.” / “HUMBLE.” (MTV VMAs)
Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255” (MTV VMAs)
New Edition Medley (BET Awards)
Camila Cabello, “Havana” (MTV Europe Music Awards)
CMT’s hit seriesNashvilletakes the stage for its sixth and final season tonight. The show’s compelling stories, major drama and incredible music have connected with fans everywhere, and tonight kicks off the final verse.
Will Juliette finally face down her demons? Will Deacon find a new love? Will Gunnar, Avery and Will form the ultimate country boy band?
Find out where the road will lead — and catch a behind-the-scenes look at the season’s creation below.
Now, the surging network will add a fourth property to the franchise, as the palm tree- and beach-laced music and party scene blasts up from Miami to join its amped-up cousins.
Earlier today, VH1 pushed out the magnificent 5:49 super-trailer embedded above, introducing fans to the 24-person ensemble cast.
“When ya’ll talk about Miami, ya’ll talk about the sands and the yachts, and you party at those clubs on that side of town, but I’m here to tell you, ya’ll don’t know a mother$%#*ing thing about Miami,” the self-proclaimed “Mayor of the 305” Trick Daddy warns in the lustrous opening montage of boats and skylines and bouncing clubs. “The real 305.”
You know @305MAYOR‘s hit records but you’ll discover a whole new side of the “Miami Mayor” when #LHHMIA premieres MONDAY JANUARY 1 at 9/8c!
Who else inhabits this unvarnished slice of South Florida? Rap mainstay Trina, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta veteran Gunplay, Latina striver Amara La Negra, producer Young Hollywood, and many more. Meet the full cast here.
Combining network transformation and honoring tradition, CMT broke records this year with 53 weeks of consecutive growth. It’s the longest active growth streak in cable (among all ad-supported cable channels).
How did CMT achieve this landmark?
The network remained true to its mission statement, fueling its status as the leading authority on country music and lifestyle by re-branding the network to become more than just a music channel, but an entertainment hub for modern country culture.
CMT re-examined its signature music events and specials with fresh eyes. With the seminal series CMT Crossroads which pairs a country act with a pop artist, the network focused on more diverse and current pairings like Maren Morris and Alicia Keys, Thomas Rhett and Nick Jonas, and Florida Georgia Line and Backstreet Boys, which scored the highest “Crossroads” ratings in 5 years.
Fresh off a pair of Grammy-nominations, Kesha is joined by Old Crow Medicine Show for a newly interrupted version of her smash hit Your Love Is My Drug:
Given the hurricanes and shootings in Las Vegas, the annual CMT Artists of the Year special was evolved from a celebration of the year’s top artists to a night of hope and healing. Fans responded…the critically acclaimed special notched the event’s highest ratings ever. And with the CMT Music Awards, CMT successfully expanded the event from one-night event into a three-day festival for sponsors and fans. The events dominated downtown Nashville with multiple sponsor activations, music performances, and fan experiences…creating the largest footprint in CMT history.
The growth isn’t just limited to television. This year, CMT’s ramped up social strategy bolstered its reach to be “everywhere fans are.” It’s working: in the past year, CMT’s Facebook fans have increased by 3,000 percent.
While the brand continues to expand, its commitment to its fans has never wavered. In the last few months alone, CMT expanded the “Empowering Education” campaign encouraging our fans to pursue higher education and was proudly the first cable network to sign-up for the “Hand in Hand” telethon benefiting hurricane victims.
The last 53 months of growth coincided with subtle yet impactful changes on CMT: introducing more culturally-relevant content to the network, and spreading such content across a range of platforms.
“We discovered that more than ever country fans cannot be put into one box. They connect with smart content which reflects their diverseidentities.”
– Frank Tanki, CMT and TV Land General Manger
Network executives chose this course after careful reflection: What does it mean to be a diehard country music fan in 2017?
It means being socially-conscious.
It means having a diverse taste in music—with Carrie Underwood and Beyoncé on the same Spotify playlist.
It means being open to progressive dialogue and content.
CMT fans are diverse in age, race, ethnicity, class and nationality.
We’re thrilled to report that Viacom’s brands have just been nominated for a total of 16 NAACP Image Awards across BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Spike and VH1. The awards honor outstanding achievements of people of color and those who promote social justice in the arts, and we couldn’t be more proud of our nominees — see the list below. Winners will be announced at a live ceremony on Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan. 15).
Congratulations to everyone involved for their fantastic work on these programs. Check out our nominated shows and specials and the respective award categories below.