CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has said for some time that the company wants to get into the general entertainment cable business. A partnership with Lionsgate gives it an entrée.
CBS has acquired 50% of the TV Guide Network, which may be rebranding itself as TVGN. The network has been looking to move fully from its roots as a listings channel to a standard cable outlet.
Lionsgate will continue to own 50% of the network, which is in 80 million homes, as CBS has purchased its stake from a JPMorgan Chase arm. CBS also has a 50/50 partnership with Warner Bros. on the CW.
The deal also gives CBS a stake in TVGuide.com. CBS stated that the channel will “continue to be entertainment-focused, with a specific rebranding and programming strategy to be announced at a later date.”
“This is a strategic way for CBS to use its content brands and gain access to a highly distributed basic cable network that has a lot of upside,” Moonves stated.
Lionsgate has indicated for some time that it may sell TV Guide Network. News of the deal was first reported by Deadline.
CBS could use TVGN as a venue to run more original programming that it can then sell to Netflix, Amazon and other subscription video-on-demand providers, making the productions profitable even if the network struggles a la the CW.