Paramount Network is an American pay television channel owned by ViacomCBS. The network's headquarters are located at the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Los Angeles.
The channel was originally founded by a partnership between radio station WSM and Westinghouse Broadcasting as The Nashville Network (TNN) and began broadcasting March 7, 1983. It initially featured programming catering towards the culture of the Southern United States, including country music, variety shows, outdoors programming, and motor racing coverage (such as NASCAR). TNN was purchased by the Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1983. After Gaylord bought CMT in 1991, TNN's music programming was shifted to CMT, leaving TNN to focus on entertainment and lifestyle programming. In 1995, TNN and CMT were acquired by Westinghouse, which was in turn acquired by Viacom in 1999.
Under Viacom ownership, TNN began phasing out its existing, country-influenced programming, in favor of more off-network series, films, and sports entertainment programming targeted to a wider audience. It was renamed The National Network in September 2000, coinciding with the premiere of WWF Raw on the channel. At this point, Viacom described TNN as being a general entertainment service, albeit one appealing to Middle America. In August 2003, TNN relaunched as Spike TV, which targeted a young adult male audience. In June 2006, Spike rebranded with a more explicit focus on the action genre. In 2010, Spike began to shift its programming towards a wider demographic reach with an increased focus on reality series. This culminated with a final rebrand in 2015 to emphasize gender-balanced series such as Lip Sync Battle and a return to original scripted programming.
On January 18, 2018, Spike relaunched as Paramount Network, aiming to align it with its namesake studio (which previously lent its name to the now-defunct broadcast television network UPN). Paramount Network has been positioned as a general "flagship" outlet for original scripted series, and as a competitor to other "premium" basic cable networks such as AMC, FX and TNT. As of September 2018, approximately 80.24 million households in the United States receive Paramount Network.
- In 1999, TNN began it's relationship with professional wrestling, signing a three-year deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling. ECW on TNN was the highest rated show on TNN through 2000, despite limited advertising.
- TNN later acquired the rights to WWF (now WWE) programming, including its flagship show RAW Is War. It also aired some XFL games.
- In September 2005, all WWE (formerly the WWF) programming on Spike TV left the network as a result of acrimonious contractual matters between WWE and Viacom. WWE Raw moved back to its original cable home, NBC Universal's USA Network while WWE Sunday Night HEAT and WWE Velocity moved to WWE.com due to failure to gain a time slot for the shows in the United States. On October 1, 2005, wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling began airing its weekly program TNA Impact! in the Saturday night time slot formerly occupied by WWE Velocity. In WWE's last Monday Night Raw broadcast on the network, executives decided to censor WWE personalities whenever they tried to mention the return of Raw to USA Network, scheduled for the following week. In what turned out to be a hectic night of sound suddenly vanishing, WWE's commentators finally succeeded in slipping the words "Next week on USA" past the censors at Spike TV, most likely due to Spike TV executives finally giving in.
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