Ethan Hunt Begins His Next Impossible Mission

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Director Christopher McQuarrie dropped the clapper on production of the next Mission: Impossible movie via Twitter over the weekend:

Tom Cruise will zoom back for a sixth appearance as Ethan Hunt, following 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which McQuarrie also directed. The film, which also start Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirky and Alec Baldwin, is slated to open in July 2018.

While it’s way too early for a trailer, you can get ready for the next mission by checking out promos for the first five impossible adventures:

Mission: Impossible – 1996

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Spike TV to Become Paramount Network in 2018 as Viacom Executes Core Business Strategy

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The Paramount Network will launch in the first quarter of 2018, adding a premium entertainment channel to Viacom’s portfolio and executing a core component of the company’s strategic shift under new CEO Bob Bakish. The new net will carry the very best of Spike TV – which Paramount Network will replace – along with high-quality scripted series that will appeal to a broad and diverse audience.

“Our mission is to establish Paramount Network as a prime destination for premium storytelling,” said Kevin Kay, president of Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. “From Alicia Silverstone as a trailblazing independent working mother in the 1970s to Michael Shannon as an FBI negotiator during the Branch Davidians dramatic standoff and siege, Paramount Network will be the home to compelling stories, unforgettable characters, and high quality production with a distinctive global appeal.”

We have three-quarters of a year until the new property drops onto the airwaves, and a lot more details will emerge between now and then, but here are three things we know right now about Paramount Network:

1) Paramount Network will be a destination for premium storytelling

The Paramount Network’s launch date announcement itemized an impressive roster of scripted series that will roll out in the channel’s first quarter.

Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari will star in American Woman, a 1970s drama about family and independence in a feminism-infused landscape. Heathers creates comedy anthology out of the 1988 film of the same name. Waco will transport us back to the standoff at the Branch Davidian compound with an entirely fresh perspective. And I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. is the latest in the acclaimed “I Am” documentary series from filmmaker Derik Murray.

While the already-announced slate is impressive, the possibilities for future franchises are enormous, particularly given the net’s relationship with Paramount Pictures. “Paramount Network is going to support and develop with Paramount,” Kay told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) in a wide-ranging interview. “Whether we make prequels or sequels to franchises that are Paramount movies or we develop our own stuff that becomes Paramount features, the same thing goes for Comedy Central and MTV — they’re in the movie business with Paramount.”

Kay hopes to establish a pipeline that supports eight premium scripted shows in any given year. “That’s a big number in this world we live in today and Viacom seems very willing to support that and help us build to that,” he said.

2) Your favorite Spike stuff isn’t going anywhere

Spike has become a destination for premium unscripted programming, with the full-throttle feel-good Lip Sync Battle joining longstanding network staples Bar Rescue and Ink Master, and all three will migrate to Paramount Network.

Spike, with its deep HD penetration and web of global outposts, was the ideal Viacom property to evolve into the Paramount Network. And, as Kay told THR, while Spike tended to still be viewed as a men’s channel, the iconic Paramount brand carried enormous gravity among fans.

“There is nothing negative in the consumer’s mind about the Paramount name,” Kay told THR. “Older people know The Godfather; some remember the Sherry Lansing years. Younger people know Transformers and Mission Impossible. Those are the franchises they identify with the Paramount name. I think it has a tremendous amount of value and sets a really high bar about premium in the consumer’s mind and it’s up to us not to screw that up.”

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Take a Look at the Aliens, Parties, Monsters and More That Are Barreling Toward Your Local Theater

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount Pictures has had a strong first half of 2016, with critical favorites Everybody Wants Some and 10 Cloverfield Lane dropping before a pair of hit sequels – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond – made strong debuts in June and July, respectively. Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Street and Hugh Grant, hits theaters this Friday, followed by Ben-Hur on Aug. 19.

The studio has plenty more on the way to wrap 2016 and launch into 2017. Jack Reacher returns. Aliens arrive. Brad Pitt returns to World War II Europe. The office Christmas party goes epic. Monster trucks come alive. And Xander Cage spins wildly back in the most extreme ways imaginable.

First up:

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK – OCT. 21, 2016

Tom Cruise – who has also starred in all five of Paramount’s Mission: Impossible films and will return for a sixth in 2017 –  returns as the indomitable drifter Jack Reacher. Director Edward Zwick melds Cruise with fellow cast members Cobie Smolders, Aldis Hodge and Danika Yarosh in this wild thriller.

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Happy 20th Birthday, Mission: Impossible

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

You may have heard that Mission: Impossible 6 could drop as soon as next year. While we don’t have any confirmed release dates at the moment, we can say that the sixth installment in the series will happen.

While you’re waiting, here’s a look back at all five films in the Mission: Impossible franchise, starting with Tom Cruise’s debut as Ethan Hunt almost exactly 20 years ago, in the spring of 1996.

Mission: Impossible – 1996

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