Update: Viacom in a statement to The Streamable has said, “Viacom has no intention of launching a TV news channel, conservative or otherwise.”
According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Viacom is in talks to launch a conservative news network to compete with Fox News. THR says that as part of the launch of the channel, they would include a streaming channel that would exist on the Viacom-owned Pluto TV.
Viacom & CBS Vice Chairwoman Shari Redstone has apparently has had discussions with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly about joining the network. However, Shari Redstone’s spokesperson denies there are such plans to launch the network.
This isn’t true. No plans. No meetings. https://t.co/VbXLGEGLBJ— Sara Evans (@SaraEvans83) October 15, 2019
The news comes as Viacom is in the midst of merging with CBS, who already has their own news division. With the departure of Shepard Smith from Fox News last week, it’s not a surprise that a major network would consider launching a channel for conservatives who feel Fox News has lost its way in the Trump era.
Including Pluto TV as part of the strategy is interesting given that the new joined company already has a streaming news network called CBSN. In August, the company revealed that CBS News is pulling in major numbers online, with the platform averaging one million streams per day. They have also launched local market versions of the network in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles — and will expand to eight additional markets by early 2020.