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Epix is joining ABC Family, IMDb TV and Spike TV in the network name scrap heap.
The MGM-backed premium cable network and its streaming counterpart are being rebranded as MGM+. The change, which will become effective in January, better aligns the brand with parent company MGM after the studio acquired full ownership of Epix from previous owners Viacom and Lionsgate in 2017 in a deal valued at $1 billion.
“MGM is one of the most iconic and beloved brands from the golden age of entertainment,” said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. “This rebrand is a promise to existing and new viewers that MGM+ is the place to find television that reflects and celebrates the legacy of the iconic MGM brand — cinematic programming with sophisticated storytelling that entertains, delights, surprises and transports. MGM is television for movie lovers.”
The rebrand will kick off on Jan. 15, timed to the third-season return of drama series Godfather of Harlem. Season two of the series starring Forest Whitaker — which is ironically owned and produced by Disney’s ABC Signature — ranks as Epix’s best-performing season of all time.
Other originals that are part of the Epix slate include Billy the Kid from Vikings creator Michael Hirst, sci-fi horror thriller From and dramas Rogue Heroes and Belgravia.
As part of the rebranding, Wright announced that drama Hotel Cocaine, from Narcos and Godfather of Harlem’s Chris Brancato, will join the roster of scripted originals at Epix. The eight-episode crime thriller set in late ’70s and early ’80s Miami, and produced in-house at Epix Studios and MGM Television, will premiere in 2023.
Additionally, Wright has greenlit a second season of period drama Belgravia from The Gilded Age and Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. Belgravia: The Next Chapter will pick up in 1865, 25 years after the 2020 limited series wrapped its run. The second season follows the love story of Frederick Trenchard and his new love interest, Clara Dunn.
Rounding out Epix’s slate is a roster of newly ordered unscripted series, including a four-part Amityville murders doc and a two-part exploration of the San Francisco music community from 1965 to 1975 from Frank Marshall, Alex Gibney and Amblin Television.
MGM+ will continue to feature films from MGM’s film library including No Time to Die, House of Gucci and Licorice Pizza as well as others from the James Bond and Rocky franchises alongside the likes of Bull Durham, Platoon, Silence of the Lambs, Mississippi Burning and many others.
Wright, for his part, oversees Epix and added MGM Television to his purview in March 2021 after he was tapped to replace studio veteran Steve Stark.
The rebranding comes as major media companies have continued to embrace their larger brand to better connect viewers with the properties they’re best known for. Streamer CBS All Access was rebranded as Paramount+ following the re-merging of Viacom with CBS. The new joint company was also rebranded as Paramount Global. Other recent networks to be rebranded include IMDb as Freevee, ABC Family as Freeform and Spike TV as Paramount Network, among others.
The rest of the Epix portfolio will also be rebranded to reflect the focus on MGM. Epix 2 will become MGM+ Hits; Epix Hits will become MGM+ Marquee; and Epix Drive-In becomes MGM+ Drive-In.
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