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.
Boiling out of the Texas plains and straight to Paramount Network comes a story Biblical and American and tainted with violence. The six-part Waco television event resurrects David Koresh (Taylor Kitsch), and his Branch Davidians in their 1993 standoff against the federal government.
In this latest trailer, we glimpse the frantic machinations of both Koresh’s cult embedded in their Mount Carmel Center compound and the ATF and FBI preparing to infiltrate it as the tale spirals toward its tragic, inexorable conclusion.
Waco will debut Jan. 24, just six days after Paramount Network launches on Jan. 12. It will join Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, American Woman, starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, and a re-imagining of the cult classic Heathers.
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.
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.
Get ready for the main event. For the first time, Bellator MMA is coming to New York City, where Spike will host its biggest fan spectacular yet, live from Madison Square Garden.
Jon Slusser, Viacom senior vice president for Sports and Specials at Spike, talks about what makes this event historic: from the title fights to the overall fan experience, and why, thanks to the dedication of the Spike team, Bellator continues to be a knockout success.
Hear what Slusser has to say about this fans-first extravaganza.
The sport of mixed martial arts, more commonly known as MMA, has experienced tremendous growth in its fan base particularly among the Hispanic Millennial demo. Since it’s introduction in 1993, the most famous MMA organizations have exploded and evolved into an empire of pay-per-view fights and large arena events, as well as a lifestyle industry, complete with clothing lines, fighter appearances and dramatic rivalries. Its most famous Latino star is Mexican-American fighter Cain Velasquez. With pride for their humble roots and Hispanic heritage, Velasquez and other Hispanic fighters have helped boost support from the growing Hispanic Millennial populace. Read More
Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has been nominated for inclusion in the prestigious ESPN The Magazine “Next” issue. Let’s help our Bellator champ knockout the competition… just head here to do so! Read More
Fighters Daniel Straus (left) and Mike Corey connect during the Featherweight Seminfinal at Bellator 65 (Photo credit: Bellator.com)
Atlantic City’s famed Boardwalk Hall has played host to The Beatles and Stones, Sinatra and Pavarotti, presidents, pageants and performances alike. But the Prohibition-era seaside arena is perhaps best known for its fights. Over the past 50 years, the Hall has hosted dozens of professional boxing’s biggest title bouts, bringing names like Tyson, Holyfield, Foreman and Holmes to its marquee.
Inside the MMA: Uncensored Live control room in Viacom's Times Square studio
From 2005 through 2011, Spike TV and the UFC enjoyed a fruitful broadcast partnership, spawning 14 successful seasons of reality hit The Ultimate Fighter, as well as UFC Unleashed and UFC Primetime. In a formative time for both the network and league alike, each built its brand and audience in a big way.
Now, with the UFC headed to broadcast-ier pastures and Bellator, its MMA heir apparent, not due to air on Spike until 2013, the network faces something of an existential challenge.
Jon Slusser, senior vice president of Sports & Specials for Spike, sums it up neatly.
“How do we let our fans and advertisers know that Spike is still home to MMA?”