CBS Takes Control of Pop TV Cabler, Buys Out Lionsgate’s 50% Stake

Variety | 3/12/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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CBS has taken full ownership of the Pop TV cable channel after buying out the 50% stake held by Lionsgate.

CBS said it aims to better integrate Pop with the rest of CBS Corp. Pop will continue to field “idiosyncratic, comedy-leaning original programming” and it may add reruns of vintage and contemporary CBS shows, according to a memo from CBS Corp. chief content officer David Nevins.

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The pricetag for the deal was not disclosed. CBS bought 50% of what was then the TV Guide Network for $100 million in 2013. Given the turbulence in the pay TV marketplace, it is unlikely CBS paid as much to acquire the rest of the channel.

Pop in recent years has become known for the original comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” which has become a buzzy sleeper success story and a critical darling. Pop president Brad Schwartz is set to continue at the helm of the company, which will be integrated into CBS’ cable network business segment that houses Showtime, Smithsonian Channel and CBS Sports Network. Schwartz will report to Nevins, after reporting to a board composed of CBS and Lionsgate executives.

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“In short order, Pop has made a big impression as a general entertainment cable network that punches well above its weight,” Nevins wrote in a memo to CBS staffers Tuesday. “Under the terrific leadership of Brad Schwartz, this young network has established a distinct brand with inventive programming and a scrappy, competitive drive that has made them one of only three ad-supported cable networks in the entire industry to grow its total audience for six consecutive years.”

News of CBS’ purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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CBS bought the 50% stake in TV Guide Network from JP Morgan’s One Capital Partners. Lionsgate bought the entirety of the TV Guide cabler and its digital operations for $255 million...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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