TV Guide Network Rebranding to POP in Celebration of Fans

Network president Brad Schwartz speaks to TheWrap about the channel changes set to launch in 2015

POP (CBS, Lionsgate)

TV Guide Network, or more recently TVGN, is ready to shed its ties to the well known TV listings brand. Starting in 2015, the cable channel will be known as POP, a channel and multi-platform destination with a renewed emphasis on celebrating fans of TV and pop culture.

The process of rebranding started back in November and took into account popular trends, what the competition was doing and the fact that the network couldn’t control the branding of, TV Guide Magazine and the app, all separately owned or run businesses.

“You want to be a unique and differentiated product for your distribution partners, for your advertising partners and for when viewers come to you they feel like you’re giving them something they can’t get anywhere else,” TVGN president Brad Schwartz told TheWrap of the decision to rebrand the cable network.

Also read: TVGN Orders New Kids on the Block Series, Developing Singing Show From ‘American Idol’ Producers

“We had a decision to make. Did we want to do a revolution or an evolution,” he added. “A revolutionary rebrand is something like the Style Network becoming Esquire or Discovery Health becoming OWN. Or, you go more the evolution route where you’re not completely turning off the audience you have on the channel, you’re building upon it. We decided to go the evolution route.”

The rebrand will officially launch in the first quarter of 2015 along with a new logo and new on-air graphics.

How did they land on POP as the network’s new name?

“When you dig deeper and ask yourself what makes a fan, it’s really that unique talent that you’re drawn to, that one-of-a-kind maverick, that bright color, the thing that rises above the noise,” Schwartz said. “And the thing that describes all of those things is when something pops, when it’s popping. Trending is almost so fleeting, that popping is what’s important. And we really liked that. If something is so good that it’s earned fandom, that’s something that’s popping.”

Also read: Brad Schwartz Tapped as President of TVGN

“People have a positive association with the word and it’s strong and it’s short,” he continued. “It’s what we call things when they’re really special.”

The network promises to unveil a new original programming lineup of more than 400 hours over the next few weeks geared toward fans, such as current series, “Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block,” which follows die-hard fans of one of the most successful boy bands of all time, and “The Story Behind,” a series that goes behind-the-scenes of TV’s greatest hits and most iconic shows and how they got their start.

“Through research, what really stood out for us was that it’s a really amazing time to be a fan,” Schwartz said. “We thought it would be really something special to be a brand that celebrated the fun of being fan, that was enthusiastic about people’s passions, that didn’t sit on the outskirts of it poking fun at it, but lived right in it and loved it.”

Also read: CBS Buys Half of, TVGN

The company refers to its target viewer as the “modern grownup,” who Schwartz described as men and women “in their mid to late-30s, someone who sort of grew up in the 90s and the 80s are still important to them.”

CBS purchased 50 percent of TVGN in May 2013, with the other half owned by Lionsgate. TVGN currently reaches more than 80 million homes.

“POP is an exciting new chapter for a cable network that has made great progress and generated significant ratings momentum over the past year,” CBS Corportation president and CEO Leslie Moonves and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a joint statement. “Our new brand not only positions the channel for continued growth but reflects its identity, focus and fan base.”