217 Years to Women’s Equality? Not on Viacom’s Watch

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.

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:

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Paramount Network Launches, Propelling Viacom Into Premium Content Space

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount Network launches tonight with a special edition of smash hit Lip Sync Battle, propelling Viacom into the premium content universe and building on the century-long storytelling tradition of fellow Viacom property Paramount Pictures.

The launch marks an important business milestone for Viacom, fulfilling a key pillar of CEO Bob Bakish’s strategic plan and cracking open potential for new marketing and advertising partnerships behind a star-studded slate that blends the best of the retiring Spike network with high-quality scripted programming.

The network will rumble to life at 9 p.m. ET with Lip Sync Battle Live: A Michael Jackson Celebration, a showcase of the legendary musician’s hits starring Neil Patrick Harris, Taraji P. Henson, Hailee Steinfeld, Laverne Cox and others.

Paramount Network completes CEO Bob Bakish’s flagship six strategy

The Paramount Network launch culminates a monumental yearlong effort to reorient Viacom under CEO Bob Bakish, consolidating resources under the company’s most iconic brands. The focus around six flagships – Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Paramount Network – is a strategy Bakish had successfully implemented in his decade-long run as head of Viacom International Media Networks.

The strategy has proven successful on the domestic front as well. Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. remain the top kids brands, MTV has ignited a primetime ratings and programming resurgence, Comedy Central completed 2017 with its best ratings week of the year, and BET just completed its 16th year as the top cable network for African-Americans. The last piece was the launch of Paramount Network.

“There’s no better way to better encapsulate Viacom’s strategy change under Bob Bakish than to look at the creation and launch of the Paramount Network,” notes TBI Vision.

Paramount Network launches Viacom into the premium content game, with big stars and great stories

Paramount Network’s premium scripted content will launch Jan. 22, when Waco, co-starring Michael Shannon and Taylor Kitsch, debuts. Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner, American Woman starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, and a re-imagining of the 80s classic Heathers will follow later this year.

“The audience has an expectation that there are going to be big names, big stars, great storytelling, great characters, and I think that’s what we have to focus on,” Paramount Network President Kevin Kay told Variety.

Paramount Network opens up tremendous partnership opportunities

The combination of captivating content, huge talent and high production generates enormous interest not just from fans, but also from advertising, distribution and creative partners who want to do business with Viacom.

“All the groups together went out and presented to both the movie studios, to our agency clients, and then to our distributors as well,” recalled Kay when asked how partners have been processing the rebrand. “People understood why we are rebranding Spike as Paramount Network, they’re excited to work with us, and the biggest thing I think that came both on the distribution side and on the ad-sales side was that clients said, ‘we want to be your partners.’”

The best of Spike is coming along

When the tribute to the King of Pop ticks to life tonight, the long-running Spike network will cease to be in the United States, gifting to Paramount Network its top unscripted programs – Ink Master, Bar Rescue, and Lip Sync Battle – plus Bellator MMA.

This mix of legacy unscripted programming establishes the net’s impressive versatility and provides a stable complement to Paramount Network’s still-evolving scripted slate.

“We’ve got scripted dramas, non-scripted in a big premium way, we’ve got scripted comedies, we’ve got docuseries, and we’ve got Mixed Martial Arts,” Kay told Deadline. “If you look around at the broadcast networks, that’s not a bad model to me. On the broadcast networks, you’ve got drama nights, you’ve got comedy nights, you’ve got sports nights. You’ve got a lot of variety for different viewers across a very broad audience. I feel that’s where we want to be.”

Nobodies will also migrate to Paramount Network, from Viacom’s TV Land. There are more original concepts in development, including sketch comedy series Browntown in collaboration with leading Latino-focused digital media brand mitú.

Paramount Network builds on Paramount Picture’s century-long legacy

Paramount Network takes its name from the rich DNA of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, the 105-year-old Hollywood icon whose deep catalogue houses some of the most memorable films ever made, including Titanic, Forrest Gump, and the Godfather films. While Paramount Network and Paramount Pictures will operate separately, their relationship will mirror that of other Viacom properties under Bakish, in which the brands collaborate with the movie studio to maximize the reach of intellectual property.

“There’s a real big need, and there’s a want, a desire, for us all to work together really closely, to both exploit [Paramount Pictures’] library and then to help promote the movies, and then to potentially create some great programs for Paramount Network,” Kay explained.

Paramount Pictures also owns the Paramount Television production studio, which tripled its revenue in 2017 through a steady stream of high-quality content, including the Netflix sensation 13 Reasons Why, Epix’s Berlin Station, and Shooter on USA.

“There is incredible demand for high-quality television content and the reality is, there are not that many places that you can get it,” Bakish said at the at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in December, underscoring the importance of Paramount Television.

The Paramount name resonates globally – Viacom offers a network called Paramount Channel in select markets outside of the United States. According to Bakish, it is the largest ad-supported movie channel in the world.

Your Authenticity Is Your Superpower, and More Insights From HERE Presents: Breakthrough Women in Sports

Asani Swann is the vice president of business strategy at Melo Enterprises, the multi-million-dollar organization of NBA All-Star athlete Carmelo Anthony. She’s also a woman of color.

Swann entered the male-dominated sports management industry armed with a bevy of professional experience in branding, contract negotiation and business partnership from her previous career at Macy’s. She had her MBA. And for the first time in her life, she lost her voice.

“There weren’t a lot of people who looked like me,” said Swann, speaking to nearly 250 Viacom employees and guests at HERE Presents: Breakthrough Women in Sports, a panel discussion sponsored by our employee resource group for women (HERE).

“When I walked into a room, people would ask me if I had gone to college,” said Swann. Other times, they’d ask if she was somebody’s girlfriend.

But Swann didn’t stay silent for long. She learned to alchemize negative energy into personal empowerment. Her career thrived, and so did her soul.

“Authenticity,” said Swann, “is my superpower.”

HERE Presents: Breakthrough Women In Sports panelists share wisdom from their success in a male-dominated industry. From L-R: Lisa Borders, Jaymee Messler, Stephanie McMahon, Pam Kaufman, Constance Schwartz-Morini and Asani Swann. Photo by Matthew Levinson for Nickelodeon.

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Setting New Records for Slime at KCA Sports 2017

In sports lingo, the 2017 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was a slam dunk, touchdown and homerun. With thousands of fans and sports stars gathering in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, as well as the multitude of viewers watching from home, the fourth annual rendition of the awards show treated its audience to cameos by the U.S. Olympic team’s Final Five, raucous events such as the Slime Mountain challenge, an award honoring legendary Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, and much more.

Guiding us through it all was the incredible emceeing of third-time host Russell Wilson. As a football superstar and new father, Wilson easily took the head play caller’s role to steer a show celebrating both kids and sports.

Check out some of the highlights from Nick’s slime-filled sports extravaganza.

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Viacom’s Deepak Daswani Travels to Nick’s KCA Sports as Winner of Employee Events & Programs Sweepstakes

The Kids’ Choice Sports Awards is the sole award show where fan engagement, wacky stunts, and sports legends converge. This year’s ceremony attracted 2.5 million viewers. It was the most-watched sports show for kids in the K2-11 and K6-11 age range, even as it competed with a trio of massively popular sports-themed shows: the 2016 ESPY Awards, and the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby All-Star Game.

Unlike those viewers sorting through their options at home, however, Viacom’s Deepak Daswani got to watch the show live at the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.  He got to take his wife Leena, and two sons—12-year-old Shaan and 9-year-old Dev – with him. Daswani is the latest winner in our ongoing sweepstakes series that has sent many Viacom employees to some of our many culturally resonant award shows over the past few months.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Slime: Highlights from Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

The family-friendly slime-fest that is Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports Awards lit up Nickelodeon, TeenNick, and Nicktoons for millions of fans on Sunday, July 17. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson again hosted the event, which celebrated some of the biggest stars in sports and included appearances from two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Cy Young Award-winning Major League Baseball pitcher CC Sabathia, legendary skater Tony Hawk and many others.

But even with this powerhouse lineup springing onto the stage at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, the real stars remained the kids—from the thousands in attendance to the many more watching from home. Their online votes determined the winners, with voting on Nick.com and the Nickelodeon App increasing by 40 percent over last year.

Check out these incredible moments below, and then visit the website for more slime, sports, and surprises.

WESTWOOD, CA - JULY 14: Fans get slimed while participating in a basketball contest onstage during the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2016 at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on July 14, 2016 in Westwood, California. The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2016 show airs on July 17, 2016 at 8pm on Nickelodeon. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Fans get slimed while participating in a basketball contest onstage during the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards 2016. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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NBA Players Team Up with BET to Pick Their Faves

The NBA may be in its offseason, but the league’s players never stop moving. Last month, BET partnered with the NBA Players’ Association to host the first-ever Players’ Awards at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, where NBA players unveiled their picks for Most Valuable Player, Best Rookie, Best Defender and more. Two-time NBA champion Ray Allen described the event as the only show “for us and by us.” Read More

The World Cup Will Be More Exciting Than the Olympics, According to Millennials around the World

by Bernadette Simpao, Viacom International Media Networks

Italy Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off today, MTV got in on the football fun and surveyed young people across eight regions, including Australia, UK, France, Latin America, Germany, Italy, Southeast Asia and Spain, to get a sense of how excited they are for the games. And it’s official: the World Cup is the planet’s most thrilling sports event, according to young people, with 61 percent of Millennials believing the World Cup will be more exciting than the Summer or Winter Olympics. Read More

EPIX Presents Amar’e Stoudemire’s Life Story In Time for NBA Playoffs

by Jamie Colunga, EPIX
EPIX Premiere of "Amar'e Stoudemire IN THE MOMENT"

EPIX Premiere of “Amar’e Stoudemire IN THE MOMENT”

Amar’e Stoudemire, power forward for the New York Knicks, is a force both on and off the court and one of the most recognizable athletes in the country. While his story about dedication and perseverance to the game of basketball is fascinating to watch, it isn’t the most surprising part of the EPIX Original Documentary Amar’e Stoudemire: In The Moment. Rather, it’s the background of his story that truly makes the film something to behold – including honest perspective on a tough upbringing, an intimate view into his everyday devotion to his family, and candid conversations about staying positive in the face of setback, something EPIX took to heart. Read More

Roger Federer, SpongeBob Square Off at Kids Tennis Day

by Jacqui Caruana, Senior Events Manager, Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand

After his warm-up with Roger Federer at Kids Tennis Day 2013 in Australia, SpongeBob SquarePants can add the tennis superstar to the growing list of athletes and celebrities he’s squared off with on the field or court (including the likes of FLOTUS Michelle Obama and David Beckham). The free family event gave kids a day of activities and a chance to interact with their tennis heroes, from Federer to Serena Williams. Read More