Published on 15 Aug 1919
BET+ continues to ramp up its roster of originals.
The forthcoming streaming service has greenlit Sacrifice, a two-hour movie starring Paul Patton that will double as a back-door pilot.
The original movie, described as a legal thriller, will star Patton Precious as an entertainment lawyer navigating the nefarious lives of her rich and famous clients.
Chris Stokes You Got Served is attached to write, exec produce and direct. Marques Houston will co-exec produce the Footage Films project, which shot in New Orleans. The movie will premiere on BET's forthcoming streaming service at a date to be determined in 2020.
"We are thrilled to have Paula and the talented ensemble cast join our first original film on BET+, as we continue to strengthen our commitment to quality storytelling while meeting our audience on all platforms,“ said Connie Orlando, head of programming at BET Networks.  Erica Ash BET's In Contempt will play a powerful district attorney and sorority sister of Patton's Daniella Hernandez. Juan Antonio Empire will play Big Dom, a successful hip-hop artist and mogul who has a long history with Daniella. V. Bozeman Empire will portray Daniella's assistant. Altonio Jackson Treme is set to portray a former hacker and member of Daniella's team. Nelson Bonilla Ozark, BET's Tales will play Miguel, Daniella's trusted driver and fatherly figure. Michael Toland NCIS will portray Arnold Lang, the founding partner of Daniella's firm. James Trevena Brown is set as Joshua Lang, the son of the firm's founder and potential partner. Liliana Montenegro, Marques Houston, Josue Ramon Gutierrez round out the cast. Sacrifice becomes the latest project earmarked for BET+, the African American-focused streamer that is set to launch in the fall. BET+, a joint venture with Viacom and Tyler Perry, will debut with a mixture of library content Perry's House of Payne and scripted originals. Sacrifice joins a scripted roster that includes Tracy Oliver's First Wives Club, Will Packer's Bigger, and, after its linear debut, Perry's original D.C.-set soap, The Oval.
Should the film work for BET+, the movie would serve as a pilot that would be picked up to series should all involved be happy with the final product.
Patton's credits include Hitch, Mission: Impossible and ABC's Somewhere Between. She's repped by ICM Partners, Management Production Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Published on 15 Aug 1919
It could be a brave new world for Trekkies, given some recent, major developments in the media world. While not as splashy as the $71.3 billion merger between Disney and Fox that went into effect earlier this year, CBS and Viacom recently agreed to terms on a multi-billion merger of their own, reuniting the two companies. This came after years of talk over a possible merger. In the changing media landscape that is ripe with consolidation, the move made sense for both parties. And not the least of which has to do with what is now possible in terms of their biggest franchises, including Star Trek.
The two companies will now form into a corporation called ViacomCBS. Ever since 2005, the Star Trek franchise has been divided. CBS held the TV rights, which is why they've been making shows such as Star Trek Discovery and the upcoming Star Trek: Picard for the CBS All Access streaming service. Meanwhile, Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, has been producing the newer iteration of the movie franchise, which kicked off in 2009 with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot.
However, everything has changed in the wake of the merger. Bob Bakish, who is set to head up ViacomCBS, implied that the idea with some of their biggest assets, such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, is to spread them out "across all the companies' platforms." So, what we'll likely see, one way or another, in the future is a version of the legendary sci-fi franchise that co-exists between streaming, traditional TV and movies. That raises a lot of questions we don't have answers to right now, but we can do some speculating.
Related: William Shatner Doesn't Get the Fuss Over Tarantino's R-Rated Star Trek
Star Trek Beyond, the most recent movie, though critically embraced, didn't do all that well at the box office. Meanwhile, the proposed Star Trek 4 has been shelved for the time being, for various reasons such as contract disputes and alleged script issues. There's the Quentin Tarantino R-rated Star Trek movie on the table, which seems like a real possibility. But even if that moves forward, it seems like ViacomCBS could use this opportunity to move away from the J.J. Abrams timeline, dubbed the Kelvin timeline, in favor of going back to what things were like in the 90s. The same cast and same continuity on TV and in the movies.
Obviously, the best template for this in the modern age is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has grossed billions of dollars worldwide and is the biggest thing in all of entertainment. The MCU is expanding to include shows on Disney+, which launches later this year. CBS already has several animated Star Trek shows and additional spin-offs in the works. No doubt, with news of the merger, plans are already being hatched to create synergy with future movies. Gene Roddenberry's timeline creation could be entering a new phase of existence, fit for the modern age. This news was previously reported by Deadline.
Published on 14 Aug 1919
After years of on-and-off discussions, the entertainment industry has found its newest corporate juggernaut in ViacomCBS Inc.
CBS and Viacom announced their agreement to merge on Tuesday, marking the end of Shari Redstone's years-long mission to reunite the two companies, which her father, Sumner Redstone, split in 2006. The merger is one of several cases of major entertainment companies consolidating in recent years Disney acquired 21st Century Fox earlier in the year, while AT&T acquired Time Warner Inc., which owns Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner, in 2018.
Although smaller than these behemoths, the CBS-Viacom merger should position the company to better compete with the other entertainment industry juggernauts. But as with all consolidations on such a large scale, potential layoffs and clashes in corporate culture could result in more than a few growing pains. Here are five of the most important questions from the merger:
1 What’s the next move for the assorted ViacomCBS streaming services?
Expansive content libraries and a strong streaming presence are essential components of every major entertainment company, and the merger means the company has the potential to capitalize on both of those things. Omnisciently popular franchises such as “South Park“ and “Star Trek“ will exist under the same corporate roof alongside Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV.
ViacomCBS now has control over several streaming services, such as CBS All Access, Pluto TV, and the Showtime streaming platform. Although it's not unusual for entertainment conglomerates to operate multiple streaming services, none of ViacomCBS's streaming offerings operate on the financial level of platforms such as Netflix or Hulu. CBS All Access has never figured out a way to adequately markets its incredible library offerings Viacom has the same rich source of content and the same plight – if they ever figure out what to do with Comedy Central digitally, Netflix’s burgeoning comedy slate should run scared.
It's unlikely that the company will consolidate all of its streaming services into a single entity &mdash Disney recently announced it would instead offer a bundle of its subscription services for a discount &mdash but ViacomCBS needs to find a succinct way to capitalize on owning multiple streaming platforms in the future.
2 Will ViacomCBS retain its NFL broadcasting contract?
CBS is one of several outlets that has a contract to broadcast NFL games until 2022 they will pay around $1 billion per year for that lucrative honor. It's very likely that with the advent of digital competitors interested in airing games that the NFL will ask for significantly more money when the negotiations for the next contract begin, and it has long been felt that without a merger with Viacom the financial strain would like have been too much for CBS to bear alone. Does the merged company give ViacomCBS the cash flow to put in a winning bid against the likes of NBC, ABC…and Facebook and YouTube? We’ll see.
3 Will there be layoffs?
“Cost-cutting” and “restructuring” are almost always corporate buzzspeak for layoffs, among other things. Deadline reported that ViacomCBS is anticipating $500 million in cost savings from the deal, and noted that the company now has employee overlap in administrative areas. The merger probably won’t have a widespread impact at CBS or Viacom’s various studios, but employees in roles such as human resources and accounting may have cause for concern. Facilities are also a big question for the future given the easy $700 million CBS pocketed by selling its Television City property in L.A.’s Fairfax District does ViacomCBS really need both CBS Radford in Studio City and the Paramount lot in Hollywood?
4 Can the differences in corporate culture be resolved?
Back in 1999 when Viacom and CBS were getting reunited for the first time, the broadcaster’s reputation as “the classiest U.S. television network” was so important to the story that the New York Times put that honorific in the first sentence of an article about the deal.
Viacom, on the other hand, was and continues to be identified by the youthful iconoclast MTV and by Paramount. Despite the studio’s 1912 birthday, Viacom represents the younger side of the Redstone media empire compared to the “Tiffany Network,” where three-piece suits are still a uniform of choice. Business casual dress was begrudgingly allowed just this summer.
Despite having the same corporate parent in National Amusements, the divide was encouraged and both halves of the company were totally silo’d from each other. This extended up to the executive ranks, where the tit-for-tat over which side would run what when caused the potential merger to stutter time and time again. This all changed last year when CBS was rocked by the sexual misconduct allegations against its chairman and CEO, Les Moonves, who was ousted from the company in the fall.
Moonves’ ouster also meant the main roadblock for for Shari Redstone's dreams of a reunified firm was gone. Some skepticism remained in CBS’s upper ranks, but the path to a merger became clearer after marriage objector Joe Ianniello, CBS’s acting CEO, did an about-face.
Viacom CEO and Redstone ally Bob Bakish was tapped to lead the merged company, while Ianniello’s role at ViacomCBS will reportedly be scaled-down to focus only on CBS-branded assets &mdash  not Showtime or Simon & Schuster &mdash signaling Viacom will indeed come first in this marriage.
5 How does this set up Paramount against studio competitors?
After the W Disney Company purchased 21st Century Fox, the unified company owns a whopping 40 percent of the global box office. With that kind of dominance, the Mouse House has set the agenda for Hollywood: Avengers-level tentpoles in theaters and everything else on streaming.
Where exactly ViacomCBS fits into this picture remains to be seen. CBS Films, distributor of mid-budget and niche movies like “Pavarotti” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” turned its focus earlier this year to producing content for CBS All Access, while Paramount counts “Top Gun,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Transformers” among its existing franchises.
Is it enough to get by – or enough to attract another buyer for the combined ViacomCBS entity with deep pockets? While the CBS and Viacom sibling rivalry went into extra innings, the rumor on the inside  – and, frankly, the hope – was the Amazon would come in and swoop up the company to acquire its depth of content that appeals to Middle America and get that demographic to finally sign up for Prime. It’s an acquisition that would change the landscape – again – and finally put ViacomCBS on the level of a combined Disney-Fox and AT&T-Time Warner.
Published on 14 Aug 1919
The introduction of Spock last season on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery may be the first in many final frontiers for the fabled franchise now that Paramount owner Viacom and CBS are about to hit the warp drive to corporate reunification.
Taking a page from the now Fox-expanded Disney book, new ViacomCBS kingpin Bob Bakish made very clear just now on today’s investor call, Star Trek and the Mission Impossible franchises have significant potential to leverage “across all the companies’ platforms.” Soon to be minted CBS CEO Joe Ianniello hit the drum hard himself when he added with an international angle that “scale is becoming more and more important all the time.”
With no lingering licensing barriers, the lucrative property created by Gene Roddenberry is now under one ownership for the first time since Star Trek: Enterprise came to an end in 2005. It was, of course, the next year that CBS and Viacom were split into two separate companies.
As CBS All Access heads towards launching the much hyped Star Trek: Picard next year with an animated series, shorts, and a Michelle Yeoh-led Discovery spinoff coming down the line, Paramount properties of the first iteration characters like James T. Kirk could become integrated into one even bigger Trekverse.
It may not be Marvel yet but it certainly has the potential to rival the Disney-own comic giant with a legacy and currency that is almost as valuable – especially as part of Shari Redstone’s overall strategy is a great global footprint.
At this very early stage, we hear that any great Trek will fall under the fiefdom of the David Stapf-run CBS Studios – as we await who truly rules what and whether a fourth Star Trek movie in the latest reboot round is truly coming in an R-rated form from Quentin Tarantino or whoever.
The upside isn’t restricted to Federation space. Star Trek: Discovery and Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone are already the linchpin franchises for CBS All-Acccess and it’s not hard to envision a small-screen revival for Paramount’s Mission: Impossible, another classic 1960s brand that naturally lends itself to episodic television especially when a budget is present for stunt work, make-up effects and CG spectacle. The original Mission: Impossible was created by Bruce Geller as an espionage procedural that aired from 1966 to 1973. The brand was brought back along with original star Peter Graves for a 1988-1990 updating of the concept, which follows the high-risk, geo-political adventures of the IMF, a covert team of highly specialized spies.
The IMF brand is bigger than ever. Tom Cruise has starred in six Mission: Impossible films since director Brian DePalma brought the spy saga to the big-screen in 1996 and the feature film series is aging well - the most recent installment, Mission: Impossible Fallout, earned $790 million worldwide, which makes it Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever albeit that ranking is not adjusted to account for inflation.
The Paramount library also includes the powerhouse Transformers franchise with six feature films to date and close to $5 billion in worldwide box office as well as major-league animated properties from DreamWorks Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda as well as the studio’s own Oscar-winning animated western, Rango.
Published on 13 Aug 1919
Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has signed a new multiyear contract that will keep him atop the studio as parent company Viacom prepares to merge with CBS.
The veteran executive shared the news with his staff on Monday, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount president of production Elizabeth Raposo has also re-upped.
In advance of the expected merger, Viacom and CBS Corp. have agreed on a management structure in which Viacom chief Bob Bakish &mdash Gianopulos' boss &mdash will be named CEO CBS chief Joe Ianniello will take a top role overseeing the CBS brands and Christina Spade will be named CFO, if a deal is reached.
The CBS-Viacom remarriage shouldn't have a dramatic impact on Gianopulos' film studio, since CBS is firmly in the television business. When the two media giants split in 2006, former CBS honcho Les Moonves launched CBS Films, a small label focusing on mid-range and speciy fare. CBS Films has been in the process of winding down for months.
The widely respected Gianopulos, who previously served a long stint as chairman of 20th Century Fox, arrived at Paramount in 2017. He was tasked with the difficult job of turning around the ailing film studio, whose fortunes had faded.
Righting a major Hollywood studio is often compared to turning around an aircraft carrier. Gianopulos has made progress with films including A Quiet Place and Rocket Man, while relaunching the Terminator franchise and rebooting the marquee Transformers series with Bumblebee. He's also unearthing Top Gun. Starring Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick is set to hit theaters June 26, 2020, and is considered one of the most anticipated movies of the coming year.
There's also a potential new franchise in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, based on the beloved kids TV series that airs on sister company Nickelodeon. Dora opened to a subdued $17 million at the domestic box office over the weekend.
Gianopulos has strong talent relationships from his years at Fox, including with James Cameron, who is producing the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate due out Nov. 1, and Ang Lee, who is directing the upcoming Will Smith sci-fi action pic Gemini Man Oct. 11. David Ellison's Skydance Media is Paramount's partner on both event pics, as well as on Mission: Impossible and Top Gun.