By Richard Middleton
ViacomCBS has unveiled the full slate of originals headed to its new Paramount+ streaming service before its launch next month and revealed plans to more than quadruple its spending on OTT content over the next three years.
The streamer will replace the existing CBS All Access service and roll out in the US, Canada and Latin America on 4 March, followed by the Nordics on 25 March and Australia later in the year, with other territories set to follow.
It will debut with more than 30,000 episodes and 2,500 movie titles across a wide range of genres and over 1,000 live sporting events, as well as around-the-clock news coverage.
Content has been drawn from ViacomCBS’s existing portfolio of brands and studios, including CBS, Comedy Central, Showtime, Pluto TV and Nickelodeon, but the company said it plans to ramp up original programming spend for the service to US$5bn by 2024, up from the US$1bn it spent on OTT-only content last year.
Among its current offering are more than 50 original series, some previously announced, set to premiere on Paramount+ over the next two years, with returns for comedy series Frasier, crime drama Criminal Minds and kids show iCarly among them, alongside a long-awaited adaptation of the Halo video game franchise and shows from the worlds of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Trek and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Scripted drama offering
Long-running crime series Criminal Minds, which originally aired on CBS, will return for a 10-episode series that will see the time get back together to investigate a single case across the season.
True Blood‘s Angela Robinson will direct and executive produce a series with Lynda Obst based on the movie Flashdance. Mad Men scribe Tracy McMillan is writing and executive-producing the series in which a young woman struggles to make her mark in the ballet world.
Halo is based on the iconic Xbox video game franchise, dramatising an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant.
Set in West Texas, Land Man is a modern-day tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs, while Love Story, from Gossip Girl exec producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, is a series based on the film of the same name.
Mayor Of Kingstown will follow the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry, while Matt Wheeler is exec producing and writing The Italian Job, a crime series following the grandchildren of the legendary Charlie Croker from the original film.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise, with this spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery bringing back the cast from the second season of that show.
Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in the title role in a new version of The Man Who Fell To Earth, the sci-fi story based on the Walter Tevis novel, while Michael Tolkin is writing and exec-producing The Offer, a scripted limited event series based on producer Al Ruddy’s never-revealed experiences of making iconic Mafia film The Godfather.
Other scripted drama projects include a new adaptation of The Parallax View executive produced by Paula Wagner and Y:1883, a prequel series to the drama Yellowstone following the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains.
On the kids front, there will be a separate Star Trek series titled Star Trek: Prodigy, an animation described as the first-ever show in the franchise for a kids and family audience.
Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years is the first-ever spin-off from SpongeBob SquarePants, while both animated show Rugrats and live action series iCarly are to return.
Animated shows Dora The Explorer and The Fairly OddParents will both also return and transition into live action series.
Nickelodeon has meanwhile also set up Avatar Studios, a new animation studio division dedicated entirely to creating content based on the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend Of Korra, with spin-offs, theatrical outings and short-form content planned.
Reality TV offerings on Paramount+ will meanwhile include returns of shows such as Ink Master, Love Island, Road Rules and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
Kelsey Grammer is set to reprise his role as pompous Seattle psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane in a return for sitcom Frasier, which ran on NBC from 1993 to 2004. The series will be produced by CBS Studios in association with Grammnet Productions.
Other comedy offerings include Grease: The Rise Of The Pink Ladies, a prequel series to the musical film, from Paramount Television Studios, exec produced by Annabel Oakes, Marty Bowen and Erik Feig and the seventh and final season of Younger.
Guilty Party is a dark comedy starring Kate Beckinsale as a discredit journalist who finds herself in over her head while investigating a woman accused of murder, while The Harper House follows the overconfident head of a household as she struggles to regain her social status after losing her job.
Inside Amy Schumer also returns with five specials featuring the stand-up comedian, while Trevor Noah will star in and produce an initial six-episode topical comedy talk show with the working title of The Weekly Show With Trevor Noah.
In addition to the new titles produced exclusively for Paramount+, existing CBS All Access originals will be rebranded to Paramount+ originals, with shows such as The Good Fight, Why Women Kill and other shows in the Star Trek franchise making the move across.
Select Paramount Pictures films are also set to stream on Paramount+ following a short theatrical release, with announced titles including A Quiet Place Part II, Paw Patrol: The Movie and Mission: Impossible 7.
“In today’s entertainment landscape, ViacomCBS stands apart as the only media company to fully embrace every segment of the streaming universe across free, premium and pay,” commented president and CEO of ViacomCBS, Bob Bakish.
“The launch of Paramount+ supercharges our strategy with a broad pay service that will be home to everything consumers love, all in one place: live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment, at scale.”https://www.digitaltveurope.com