ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks

ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks[1] (formerly known as Warner Cable Co, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, MTV Networks and Viacom Media Networks) is an American mass media division of ViacomCBS that oversees the operations of many of its television channels and Internet brands. Its related international division is ViacomCBS Networks International.

ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
  • Warner Cable Co. (1977-1979)
  • Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment (1979-1985)
  • MTV Networks (1985–2011)
  • Viacom Media Networks (2011–2019)
IndustryEntertainment, cable and satellite television
FoundedDecember 1977; 43 years ago (1977-12)
FounderRobert Pittman
HeadquartersMTV Studios, One Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10036, United States
Key people
  • Chris McCarthy (President; MTV Entertainment Group)
  • David Nevins (President; Premium Content Group)
  • Brian Robbins (President; Kids and Family Group)
ParentWarner Communications (1977-1985)
American Express (1979-1985)
Viacom (1985–2006, 2005–2019)
ViacomCBS (2019–present)


Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment (1977-1985)Edit

In 1977, Warner Communications, alongside card firm American Express, formed a joint-venture company called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment; and it consists of Warner-Amex Cable (later became Warner Cable/Time Warner Cable, became part of Charter Communications), and eventually Nickelodeon (formerly Pinwheel), Bravo (in a joint with Cablevision's Rainbow Media, later sold to them, now owned by NBCUniversal), MTV (formerly Sight on Sound), VH1 (channel spot originally Turner's Cable Music Channel), and The Movie Channel (which later merged with Viacom International's Showtime in 1983 to become Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc). Warner-Amex Cable division even owned the QUBE interactive cable service as well.

MTV Networks Begins and bought by Viacom (1985-2005)Edit

On July 18, 1985, Warner Communications made the decision to divest Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1 into a public corporation called MTV Networks, Inc..[2]

On August 27, 1985, Warner sold 31% of MTV Networks to Viacom International, with Warner also selling 19% of its Showtime/The Movie channel joint to Viacom as well.[3]

In November 1985, Viacom bought remaining shares of MTV Networks it did not own; from Warner & American Express.[4] This led to Viacom becoming a mass media company rather than simply a distribution company.

In 2000, following Viacom's acquisition of CBS Corporation, The Nashville Network and CMT, the two channels owned by CBS by that time under CBS Cable, became part of MTV Networks, with The Nashville Network becoming The National Network.

In 2001, Viacom purchased Washington-based Black Entertainment Television, and integrated it into MTV Networks, which later separated BET from MTV to a new group BET Networks.

In 2002, Viacom acquired Sesame Workshop's shares of Noggin (now Nick Jr. Channel), and fold it under Nickelodeon Networks division of MTV Networks.

In 2003, Comedy Central became part of MTV Networks after Viacom's acquisition of the remaining shares of the latter from Time Warner. The joint dates back to 1991, when HA! and Time Warner's The Comedy Channel merged.

In 2005, the company announced plans of looking into splitting into two publicly traded companies under the continuing ownership of National Amusements because of a stagnating stock price. The internal rivalry between Les Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of CBS and MTV Networks respectively, and the controversy of Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, which resulted in MTV being banned from producing any more Super Bowl halftime shows, were also seen as factors. After the departure of Mel Karmazin in 2004, Redstone, who served as chairman and chief executive officer, decided to split the offices of president and chief operating officer between Moonves and Freston. Redstone was set to retire in the near future, and a split would be a creative solution to the matter of replacing him. The split was approved by Viacom's board on June 14, 2005.

Viacom splits CBS and spun-off Viacom (2006–2019)Edit

In January 2006, the remnants of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks) were separated following Viacom's split into two entities: CBS Corporation, which took retained Showtime Networks (Showtime, The Movie Channel, and Flix), and a spun-off company under the Viacom name, which took ownership of Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks.

MTV Networks was renamed Viacom Media Networks in 2011.

In the fall of 2012, media analysts began to report that ratings among some of Viacom's leading brands in the U.S were experiencing declines in viewership.[5][6] MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon were of most concern to investors as the three account for roughly 50% of Viacom's operating profit, estimated David Bank of RBC Capital Markets.

In 2017, Viacom announced a five-point restructuring plan, in which the company would pour most of its resources behind six "flagship brands". These were MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., BET, and Paramount Pictures.[7][8][9][10] In February 2017, cable channels CMT and TV Land were moved from the Kids and Family Group to the Global Entertainment Group under Kevin Kay, joining up with Spike TV.[11] During the same month, it was announced that Spike would be relaunched as Paramount Network in 2018, aligning with the namesake film studio and being positioned as Viacom's main general entertainment outlet.[12][13]

In October 2018, Kevin Kay was announced to be leaving his position as head of the Entertainment Group. CMT was transferred from the Entertainment Group to the Music Group under president Chris McCarthy, with his exit. Executive Kent Alterman would take charge of Paramount Network and TV Land to go with his current leadership of Comedy Central and Bellator MMA.[14]

In 2019, after acquiring the free streaming service Pluto TV, Viacom would launch several channels on the service branded after its Media Networks and company-owned IP.[15][16][17][18]

Viacom re-merged with CBS to become ViacomCBS (2019–present)Edit

In August 2019, Viacom announced that it would re-merge with CBS Corporation, reuniting the two entities under the new name ViacomCBS.[19][20] The merger closed in early December 2019.[21][22] Announced on November 11, 2019, as part of the re-merger, the Media Networks division was renamed ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, and reorganized. MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo were reorganized into the "Entertainment & Youth Group",[23] with the addition of Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, and TV Land. BET Networks was merged with Showtime Networks under CEO David Nevins, who also temporarily gained oversight of Pop TV;[24] Pop TV was transferred to the Entertainment & Youth Group on January 15, 2020.[25] In October 2020, the Entertainment & Youth Group was renamed MTV Entertainment Group.

Channels listEdit

Current channelsEdit

Category Name Notes Launch
MTV Entertainment Group
CMT Music 6
MTV MTV 1 August 1, 1981
MTV Classic 19
MTV Live 20
MTV Tres
Other Comedy Central 2 June 1, 1991
Logo 4 2005
Paramount Network 3 1996
Pop TV 15 1981
Smithsonian Channel 13 2007
TV Land 14 April 29, 1996
VH1 1985
Premium Content Group
BET Networks BET 1983
BET Gospel
BET Hip-Hop
BET Jams
BET Soul
BET+ (streaming service)
Showtime Networks Showtime
  • Showtime 2
  • Showcase
  • SHO×BET17
  • Showtime Extreme
  • Showtime Family Zone
  • Showtime Next
  • Showtime Women
The Movie Channel
  • The Movie Channel Xtra
Flix 16
Kids and Family Group
Nickelodeon Nickelodeon 7 April 1, 1979
Nick at Nite July 1985
Nick Jr. 8
Noggin 8
NickMusic 9
Nicktoons 10 2002
TeenNick 11

Former channelsEdit


1Channel was created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment originally tested as Sight on Sound until 1981 when it was officially launched as MTV.

2Channel started as Ha!, merged with HBO's The Comedy Channel the following year, became fully owned by Viacom in 2003.

3Originally TNN from 1983 to 2003 (as The Nashville Network until 1997; as The National Network until 2003) and was known as Spike until January 2018. Will relaunch as Paramount Movie Network in 2021.

4Channel was originally known as VH1 MegaHits before being discontinued in July 2005 to facilitate Logo launch.

5Channel originally owned by CBS, became part of MTV Networks when CBS merged with Viacom.

6Created as VH1 Country prior to Viacom/CBS merger.

7Channel was created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment originally tested as Pinwheel until 1979 when it was officially launched as Nickelodeon.

8Channel was originally known as Noggin before being rebranded as Nick Jr. in 2009. Co-owned with Sesame Workshop from 1999 to 2002.

9Channel was originally known as MTV Hits before being rebranded as NickMusic on September 9, 2016.

10Channel was originally known as Nicktoons TV until 2003 when it was rebranded as Nicktoons which was rebranded again as Nicktoons Network in 2005 and finally rebranded yet again as Nicktoons once more in 2009.

11Channel was originally known as The N before being rebranded as TeenNick in 2009.

12Channel originally owned by the first incarnation of Viacom, and earlier with former partner Warner-Amex, and later became part of CBS Corporation following Viacom's split in 2006. Showtime was established in 1976, and The Movie Channel was established in 1973 as Star Channel, and relaunched under its current name in 1979.

13Channel was originally co-owned by CBS Corporation through Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institution until November 7, 2019, when the Institution sold its equity interest to Showtime.[26]

14Channel was originally a block on Nick at Nite.

15Previously owned by CBS Corporation, and prior to 2019, half of the share owned by Lionsgate. Formerly known as TVGN, and TV Guide Network.

16Established by Viacom's Showtime Networks in 1992, and later became part of CBS Corporation following Viacom's split in 2006.

17Channel was formerly Showtime Beyond from 1998 and was discontinued on July 15, 2020.

18Channel was originally known as "Star Channel" until it was bought by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment before becoming "The Movie Channel" in 1979.

19Channel was originally known as VH1 Smooth before being relaunched as VH1 Classic Rock on August 1, 1999. The channel was renamed VH1 Classic in 2000 and was later rebranded as MTV Classic on August 1, 2016.

20Channel was originally known as Music: High Definition (MHD) before being rebranded as Palladia on September 1, 2008. On February 1, 2016, the channel was rebranded as MTV Live.

Other propertiesEdit


Through its Domestic Media Networks division, ViacomCBS also owns internet properties, such as MTV News and AwesomenessTV. The company ran a virtual world system, Virtual MTV, in the late 2000s.[27] It formerly owned Neopets, Atom Entertainment,, and other web properties before shutting them down or selling them to other companies in the 2000s and 2010s.

New York headquarters


In 2006, Viacom acquired Harmonix, a video game studio oriented towards music video games and the original developer of the Guitar Hero franchise, for $175 million.[28] The two subsequently collaborated on the creation of Rock Band.[29] That year, Viacom also acquired the gaming-oriented communications platform Xfire.[30]

In 2010, Harmonix was divested to an investment firm to become an independent studio,[31][32] and Xfire was sold.[33]

In 2011, Viacom established a in-house studio known as 345 Games, which is dedicated primarily to developing games based on Comedy Central and MTV properties.[34]

ViacomCBS Networks InternationalEdit

ViacomCBS Networks International is the sibling division of Domestic Media Networks. Its headquarters are in New York, London, Warsaw, and Buenos Aires, and manages the following brands: MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Channel 5, Network 10, Telefe and Colors.

The division is split into three regional units:

Former brands include TMF and VIVA which, along with digital properties Nitrome Limited, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire, have either since merged with other networks, were shut down, or were sold off.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lafayette, Jon. "Viacom-CBS Merger Done Creating Larger TV Company". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "BUSINESS PEOPLE ; A Chief Is Named By MTV Networks". The New York Times. July 19, 1985. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  3. ^ "Viacom to Buy Warner Stake In Cable Units". The Washington Post. August 27, 1985.
  4. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (September 17, 1986). "VIACOM CHIEF LEADS GROUP'S BUYOUT BID (Published 1986)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 23, 2021. In November 1985, Viacom acquired MTV for $326 million in cash and warrants. One-third of MTV was publicly owned; the rest was owned by Warner Communications and the American Express Company. At the same time, Viacom bought the 50 percent of Showtime, the pay televison service, that it did not already own for $184 million.
  5. ^ Jannarone, John (October 28, 2012). "Audiences Fall for MTV, Comedy Central". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Flint, Joe (October 10, 2012). "MTV has big ratings issue, analyst warns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Lieberman, David (February 9, 2017). "Viacom CEO Supports Paramount And Non-Core Networks – But For How Long?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  8. ^ "Viacom Stock Rises on Restructuring". Multichannel. February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  9. ^ "Viacom Unveils Five-Point Turnaround Plan (MESA)". February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Viacom outlines five point turnaround plan". TBI Vision. February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 1, 2017). "Viacom Restructure: CMT, TV Land Moved to Kevin Kay's Global Entertainment Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike President On Channel's Rebranding As The Paramount Network". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike To Change Name & Become The Paramount Network In Viacom Rebranding". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  14. ^ Holloway, Daniel; Otterson, Joe (October 25, 2018). "Kevin Kay Exits Paramount Network as Viacom Reorganizes Cable Channels". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "Viacom Acquires Free Streaming Platform Pluto TV for $340 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  16. ^ "Viacom Announces Completion of Pluto TV Acquisition". March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (April 29, 2019). "Viacom Launching 14 Free Channels on Pluto TV, Sets Broad Digital Originals Slate". Variety. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Peterson, Tim (April 16, 2019). "Viacom will debut 15 channels on Pluto TV to bolster its upfront pitch". Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  19. ^ Szalai, George; Bond, Paul; Vlessing, Etan (August 13, 2019). "CBS, Viacom Strike Deal to Recombine". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "CBS and Viacom To Combine" (PDF). CBS. August 12, 2019.
  21. ^ Steinberg, Brian (October 28, 2019). "Viacom, CBS Set to Merge in Early December". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  22. ^ Weprin, Alex (October 29, 2019). "Viacom-CBS Merger Now Expected to Close in 'Early December'". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  23. ^ "ViacomCBS shakes up its content leadership teams following merger". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  24. ^ Viacom and CBS Announce Content and Digital Leadership
  25. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 15, 2020). "ViacomCBS Shuffles Oversight of Pop TV, Bellator MMA Amid Post-Merger Restructuring (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  26. ^ "Smithsonian sells its stake in... the Smithsonian Channel". November 8, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  27. ^ "Virtual MTV Launches Alpha of Browser-Based Experience". Engage Digital. February 5, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  28. ^ "MTV acquires Harmonix for USD $175 million". Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  29. ^ Kohler, Chris (September 14, 2007). "A Glimpse Into Harmonix's Punk-Rock Design Process". Wired. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  30. ^ "Viacom to acquire Xfire". GameSpot. April 24, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  31. ^ Halliday, Josh (December 24, 2010). "Viacom sells Rock Band game studio". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  32. ^ Marie, Meagan (December 23, 2010). "Viacom Sells Harmonix To Columbus Nova". Game Informer. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  33. ^ Wauters, Robin. "Exclusive: Titan Gaming Takes Xfire Off Viacom's Hands". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  34. ^ "MTV Networks Group Launches 345 Games". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  35. ^ "MTV Latin America Confirms Rock Band Thirty Seconds to Mars to Perform at MTV World Stage Mexico" (Press release). Mexico: Retrieved May 31, 2012.