CBS All Access Has a Fancy New Name

Photo: CBS All Access

CBS All Access will become Paramount+ early next year, continuing its transformation into a supersized platform its ViacomCBS owners hope will be better able to compete with the likes of Hulu, Peacock and HBO Max. The streamer announced the new brand identity Tuesday, along with a timetable for international expansion and plans for more programming connected to its corporate sibling brands— including a scripted series about the making of The Godfather and a revival of the CW/BET comedy The Game.

The renaming of All Access isn’t a surprise: ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish telegraphed the name change back in May, and the Financial Times last month reported Paramount+ was a leading contender. “Paramount is an iconic and storied brand beloved by consumers all over the world, and it is synonymous with quality, integrity and world-class storytelling,” Bakish said in a press release announcing the rebranding. Choosing a name known outside the US (unlike, say, CBS) will let the company “establish one global streaming brand in the broad-pay segment that will draw on the sheer breadth and depth of the ViacomCBS portfolio.” The new Paramount+ will begin its international rollout sometime next year, starting with launches in Australia, the Nordic region and Latin America.

Since Viacom and CBS reunited last year, execs have made it clear building up the company’s streaming portfolio (which also includes a direct-to-consumer version of Showtime and the ad-supported Pluto) would be a major priority. More content from ViacomCBS has been pouring onto All Access throughout 2020, including a big influx of TV and movie library titles in July. Unlike Disney+ and, to a lesser degree, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, ViacomCBS hasn’t yet decided to make all of its biggest library titles available on its own streaming platform. The company recently sold streaming rights to Paramount Network’s scripted hit Yellowstone to NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and it struck a megabucks deal with HBO Max for South Park reruns.

Still, ViacomCBS still plans to use its vast collection of intellectual property to create new content for the rechristened Paramount+. While details are few right now, the company says it is developing a revival of producer Mara Brock Akil’s massively successful comedy The Game for Paramount+, saying the new take on the show will be part of the platform’s BET-branded offerings. It declined any details regarding the new project, though the term revival hints some original cast involvement. Late last year, Deadline reported the CW was developing a sequel to The Game which could involve the participation of original cast members; the site then declared the project dead a few weeks later.

Also in the works at the new Paramount+:

• The Offer, the aforementioned limited series about the making of the Paramount Pictures classic The Godfather, told from the point of view of producer Paul Ruddy.
• A new take on VH1’s Behind the Music, this time with MTV branding and focused on the 40 biggest artists of the pop music era.
Lioness, a spy drama from Yellowstone producer Taylor Sheridan that will tell the story of a Marine who forms a bond with a terrorist’s daughter in order to “bring the organization down from within,” per the platform’s press release.
• A true crime docuseries tied to the former CBS series Criminal Minds.

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CBS All Access Has a Fancy New Name