LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Showtime executive Mark Greenberg is expected to head Viacom Inc’s new pay TV channel, which will compete with HBO and CBS Corp’s Showtime, according to a published report.
Showtime is controlled by CBS, which was split from Viacom -- owner of Paramount and MTV -- in 2006. But both are still controlled by media mogul Sumner Redstone.
The new channel venture is viewed as a direct challenge by Viacom against CBS. HBO is owned by Time Warner Inc.
Viacom said on Sunday it will launch the premium TV and movie channel with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which are not expected to renew their contracts with Showtime when they expire at the end of 2008.
Paramount’s contract with Showtime ended in 2007.
Bringing in a former Showtime executive is viewed as another slap in the face to Showtime, Business Week said on Tuesday.
Viacom, MGM, Lions Gate and Showtime declined comment.
Films and shows from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate will be made available to the new channel and services on an exclusive basis during the pay television period, with some exceptions.
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