CBS has reached an agreement with Lionsgate to buy out its 50 percent stake in cable TV network Pop.
The network, which airs series like “Schitt’s Creek,” had previously been a 50-50 venture between the two companies.
In a memo announcing the acquisition, CBS chief content officer David Nevins said that Pop will be further integrated into CBS Corp’s marketing and content initiatives, but will still “continue on its path of developing idiosyncratic, comedy-leaning original programming for the network. We also see Pop as another important outlet for CBS-produced content, both original series and secondary runs of off-network and library programming.”
CBS acquired a 50 percent stake in the channel from Lionsgate in 2013 when it was still TV Guide Channel, and renamed it TVGN. In 2015, the network was rebranded as Pop TV.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together with our partners at CBS in building Pop into a nationally distributed platform with exciting programming like the acclaimed series ‘Schitt’s Creek,'” a Lionsgate spokesperson said. “Pop is a great fit for CBS’ portfolio of businesses, and they are the ideal company to take Pop to the next level of performance under the continued leadership of Pop President Brad Schwartz. Lionsgate Television will continue to supply its original content, like the upcoming series ‘Florida Girls,’ to the platform.”
Read Nevins’ full memo below:
Good afternoon, everyone. I have some exciting news today to share about Pop TV, which, as you know, has been a very successful joint venture between CBS and Lionsgate. Going forward, Pop will be 100 percent owned by CBS, and we are very excited about its next chapter as a fully integrated part of our global premium content company.
In short order, Pop has made a big impression as a general entertainment cable network that punches well above its weight. 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.
In the process, they have also birthed a signature series with the critically acclaimed ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ a show that was on 30 year-end best lists in 2018 and continues to grow in ratings every year. Pop has continued their programming momentum with the well-reviewed ‘Flack’ starring Anna Paquin, currently in its first season, and the upcoming ‘Florida Girls.’
Going forward, Pop will continue on its path of developing idiosyncratic, comedy-leaning original programming for the network. We also see Pop as another important outlet for CBS-produced content, both original series and secondary runs of off-network and library programming.
With ownership under one roof, we also hope to explore more opportunities where Pop can be part of content and marketing initiatives across all CBS-owned platforms. By way of example, Pop has collaborated successfully with the CBS Television Network for several years on the late night companion series ‘Big Brother After Dark’ and with other cross-platform ideas.
Pop will be integrated into the Company as part of the CBS Cable Network Segment with Brad reporting to me.
We believe that by bringing Pop closer to the CBS and Showtime creative and business operations, we can help unlock value and drive growth at Pop TV.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Jon Feltheimer and our colleagues at Lionsgate, who have been terrific partners in our joint venture to launch and grow Pop. We thank them for everything they’ve done to support Pop along the way and bring us to this point.