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Viacom’s game of musical chairs with its scripted programming continues.
Season two of MTV genre drama The Shannara Chronicles is moving to fellow Viacom-owned cable network Spike TV, where it will air in the fall. (A formal premiere date has not been determined.) To prepare Spike viewers for the series, the older and more male-skewing network will air an encore of season one starting Thursday, June 29 at 11 p.m., directly after its forthcoming launch of drama The Mist.
The Shannara Chronicles — the most expensive pilot ever produced for MTV — wrapped March 1, 2016, with 1.8 million total viewers and three days of delayed viewing. It has been a decent performer with seven days of DVR, where it typically gains another million viewers. The series, a co-production between Sonar Entertainment and MTV, had the highest seven-day DVR lift (106 percent) for a freshman series in MTV history.
Viacom has been shuffling its scripted fare as the media conglomerate looks to bolster six core brands under new CEO Bob Bakish. Spike, which will be rebranded as Paramount Network come January, has a larger overall viewership than MTV.
For MTV, meanwhile, the decision to move Shannara Chronicles to Spike TV comes as the cabler under network president Chris McCarthy has focused on a younger/teen demo. Shannara Chronicles skewed older and male.
The move leaves MTV’s scripted roster with only the final few episodes of Teen Wolf as well as the rebooted short-order third season of Scream, which will return with yet another new showrunner, a new cast and location. Despite the waning roster, MTV stresses that the network is not exiting the scripted space. Insiders note that MTV, which has a new head of scripted in Maggie Malina, is expected to have news on that front soon.
“After much consideration, it was decided that the second season of The Shannara Chronicles will air on Spike. We’re honored to have worked with our extraordinary production partner, Sonar Entertainment, along with fantasy visionaries and executive producers Al Gough, Miles Millar, Jon Favreau, Jonathan Liebesman and Dan Farah, along with executive producer and best-selling author of the book series Terry Brooks. We’re pleased that fans of the beloved franchise will be able to follow the characters and epic story they love on its new network.”
From exec producer Favreau and showrunners Gough and Millar (AMC’s Into the Badlands, Smallville), the drama — which was picked up straight-to-series — centers on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. Poppy Drayton, Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies star in the fantasy drama.
Shannara Chronicles marks the latest show to jump networks as part of Viacom’s rejuvenation plan to focus on six core brands (Paramount Network, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.). BET recently added VH1’s The Breaks and Hit the Floor; Paramount Network will air TV Land-developed series Heathers and American Woman; and RuPaul’s Drag Race shifted from Logo to VH1.
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