Viacom Stands Out On 2017 Year-End Lists, Owns Half of Billboard’s 10 Best Award Show Performances

Viacom wrapped 2017 with a strong showing on the flurry of industry best-of compilations assembled by top media and entertainment press.

Critics lauded Viacom’s premium content: Vice included South Park’s Put It Down episode on its list of memorable TV moments, while BET’s The Rundown With Robin Thede – which stars the only African-American host in late-night television – made Deadline’s list of top 10 new TV shows of 2017. And The Advocate praised VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race for its positive representation of the LGBT community, commending it with several mentions on their list of the 15 most important LGBT TV moments of 2017.

Most striking, however, is that Viacom’s culturally resonant awards shows staked out half the slots on Billboard’s 10 Best Award Show Performances of 2017: Critics’ Picks. Keep in mind that there were roughly 45 music award shows across the industry in 2017.

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)

👀HAVANA👀 #mtvEMA numero 3

A post shared by camila (@camila_cabello) on

Missy Elliott, “She’s a Bitch” (VH1 Hip-Hop Honors)

There were plenty more noteworthy Viacom performances Billboard’s shortlist. My favorite acts from Viacom’s 2017 shows included Lorde’s muted modern dance at the VMAs and musical trio Hayley Kiyoko, Alex Newell, and Wrabel‘s exhilarating True Colors cover at Logo’s Trailblazer Honors during Pride Month in June.

Watch the performance:

With the upcoming launch of the Paramount Network on Jan. 18, returning hits like CMT’s Nashville and Comedy Central’s Detroiters, VH1’s latest addition to fan-favorite franchise Love & Hip Hop: Miami and a ravishing slate of upcoming live events, Viacom promises to deliver another year of eminent content and groundbreaking experiences for our fans.

Transformers Return, The Mist Creeps In, Logo Honors Trailblazers, Bellator Hits MSG, 17th BET Awards Air – All in a Spectacular Weekend for Viacom

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

This is an extraordinary week for Viacom, a showcase of our diverse properties and the incredible power of our brands, sprawled across theaters, televisions and event spaces all over the world.

On Wednesday, the fifth Transformers movie opened in theaters. Thursday brought Spike’s mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. Friday we celebrate Pride month with Logo’s Trailblazer Honors. Saturday is perhaps the marquee night in Bellator history, as the Spike-owned property drops into New York City’s Madison Square Garden. And Sunday takes us to the West Coast, where BET will broadcast their marquee BET Awards.

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.

Thursday, June 22 – The Mist Spike

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.

Friday, June 23 – Logo Trailblazer Honors – Logo

The fourth installment of Logo’s marquee event follows last year’s emotional outpouring of defiant pride in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub massacre.

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Leslie Jones to Host Star-Laden 17th BET Awards

The 17th BET Awards will celebrate top music, television, sports and movie talent on Sunday, June 25.

Comedian and Saturday Night Live actress and writer Leslie Jones, host of the 2017 awards show, got her start on BET and can’t wait to return to honor some of entertainment’s hottest stars.

The BET Awards have become a cultural touchstone. Last year’s awards captivated audiences with mesmerizing performances and a tribute to Prince. One of the evening’s most moving moments came when Jesse Williams, Greys Anatomy star and civil rights activist, utilized his Humanitarian Award acceptance speech to address how the challenges of living in a racially prejudiced world impact the black community.

This year’s Humanitarian Award winner is Chance the Rapper, whom BET is honoring for his strides toward improving the lives of young black men, decreasing gun violence, and financially supporting Chicago Public Schools.

Another highlight of the show will be incredible performances by artists Bruno Mars, Future, Migos, Trey Songz, Tamar Braxton and more.

The BET Awards draws top names from across the entertainment landscape, and many of them will ascend the stage to present awards. Among the major names will be Yara Shahidi, Cardi B, Issa Rae, Jamie Foxx, La La Anthony, Trevor Noah, Robin Thede, Cari Champion and Demetrius Shipp Jr.

The nominees include some of the biggest names in entertainment.  Queen Bey (Beyoncé) will be continuing her highest total nomination streak with seven new nominations, including Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Collaboration with Kendrick Lamar for Freedom, Video of the Year, and Album of the Year for Lemonade. Bruno Mars is nominated in five categories, including Album of the Year, Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, and Video of the Year. Chance the Rapper and Migos each clocked four nominations. Check out the full list of nominees below.

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Kids Programming, VH1, Award Shows Highlight Earnings for America’s Largest Cable Family

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
Viacom released third quarter 2016 earnings on Thursday, Aug. 4. Nickelodeon and VH1 are surging in ratings as VIMN continues to expand and our brands reel in Emmy nominations, helping to affirm our place as the leading cable network in America, with 21.1 percent of all viewership concentrated on its networks.

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Viacom Employee Events & Programs Sends Four of Our Employees to Join the Coronation at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors

More than 3 million viewers set records for the first live airing of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens on July 11, driving a torrid social media response to this veneration of the genre’s female icons. This love letter to the female forerunners of hip-hip included tributes to Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Peppa, Lil’ Kim and more.

The event broadcast from just a couple dozen blocks north of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Continuing a summer-long contest that has given employees a chance to attend tentpole events such as the BET Awards and the CMT Music Awards, Viacom sent four winners to witness the show live.

Here’s what three of our winners have to say about the stunning ceremony.

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VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: “All Hail the Queens” Celebrated Hip Hop’s Legendary Ladies

VH1’s Hip Hop Honors aired Monday, June 11. This year’s ceremony was aptly named “All Hail the Queens” as female icons such as Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Peppa, and Lil’ Kim were recognized for their contributions to a male-dominated genre. The divas of hip-hop collaborated for a superb, stirring evening.

VH1’s Hip Hop Honors is the latest in a series of record-breaking Viacom award shows this spring. More than three million viewers tuned in for the spectacle, giving VH1 its highest Monday-night ratings in over a year. The show generated 17 trending Twitter topics, and was the most-tweeted day of VH1’s fiscal year.
Want to know what everyone’s tweeting about? Check out these highlights.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Queen Latifah performs onstage during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens at David Geffen Hall on July 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for VH1)

All hail Queen Latifah. Photo courtesy of Getty.

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Viacom Employee Lottery Winner Courtney McNulty’s BET Experience: “I Could Feel the Fire in the Air”

Courtney McNulty, Viacom’s coordinator for intellectual property and litigation at our Santa Monica office, is the latest winner in the series of employee lotteries for Viacom awards shows. She attended the BET Awards on Sunday, June 26 in her hometown of Los Angeles.

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Our employee lottery winner, Courtney McNulty, outside of the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with her friend, Rihanna Lane.

So far, our winners have seen some of the most radical ceremonies in Viacom history. Our first winner, Shannon Griffith, won a trip to Nashville for the CMT awards. The CMT Awards showcased its innovative, eclectic genre and proved rap and country can merge harmoniously.

Our next winner, Joseph Stephan, witnessed the magic that was Logo’s Trailblazer Honors.  Logo’s Trailblazer Honors came at a crucial moment for the LGBT community. It provided a safe haven for its dedicated fan base after the devastating attack in Orlando, and memorialized those lost in the senseless act of violence and hate.

Like the Trailblazer Honors, The BET Awards is a fundamental space for the black community to unite against oppression and forge a new standard for equality. In this year’s ceremony, Jesse Williams demanded civil rights in a riveting speech that went viral. The show featured an array of talent delivering heartfelt Prince tributes. Beyoncé literally flooded the stage with her performance of Freedom.

I chatted with McNulty about the experience of living these moments.

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BET Goes Worldwide

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

BET is all over the place these days. They’re taking over the Los Angeles Convention center and L.A. Live this weekend for the BET Experience. They’ll be honoring Jesse Williams and Samuel L. Jackson at the BET Awards on Sunday night. The entire network launched in France late last year.

But it’s about to be really all over the place.

The BET Play app drops today, and it’s going to bring English-language BET content to smartphones, tablets, and AirPlay-enabled television sets in 100 countries.

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Viacom Remembers the Purple Prince With Music Video Marathon

MTV’s annual Upfront presentation is a time for the network to unveil new programming and celebrate innovations. This year, the festivities fell on Thursday, April 21, just hours after the world lost a deeply cherished artist—Prince Rogers Nelson. MTV – so long positioned at the center of the musical universe – quickly updated its presentation to honor one of the greatest innovators in music history.

Viacom Music and Entertainment President Doug Herzog took the stage at Skylight at the Moynihan Station, a historic New York City post office-turned production center. With Prince’s signature symbol and a purple glow cast over the majestic arena, Herzog paid tribute to the icon.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Television executive, Doug Herzog speaks during the 2016 MTV Upfront at Skylight At Moynihan Station at Skylight at Moynihan Station on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

Viacom Music and Entertainment President Doug Herzog pays tribute to the late icon at the 2016 Upfront Presentation.

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The 2015 BET Awards Dazzle and Electrify

The newly minted Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles was on fire Saturday night as the 15th annual BET Awards came to town. It was a night full of phenomenal performances, heartfelt speeches and unforgettable moments. The night’s top winners included Kendrick Lamar for Best Male Hip Hop Artist and in a three-way tie, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown won three awards each, followed by Oscar-winning film “Selma” and FOX’s “Empire,” which each took home two awards.

The evening also featured some throwback moments that paid tribute to the legends. Legendary recording artist and Motown executive Smokey Robinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He also performed “Tracks of My Tears,” “Cruisin’,” and a crowd sing-along to “My Girl,” with Tori Kelly, Robin Thicke and Ne-Yo. Check it out:


Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson captivated the crowd the entire night, thanks to their riffs on a range of hot topics and impersonating celebrities from Sam Smith to Cookie and Lucius from “Empire.” For a complete list of award winners and more information, click here.