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CBS All Access rebrands as Paramount Plus in Canada, but it's a name change only


TORONTO — CBS All Access will be renamed Paramount Plus on Thursday, which brings heaps of new streaming programming to its U.S. subscribers, but not Canadian customers.

A representative for ViacomCBS says while American audiences will have access to a library of Paramount films on the platform, as well as TV series from Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Showtime and Comedy Central, none of those options will be available north of the border.

Instead, the Canadian rebrand to Paramount Plus is little more than a logo change, at least for now.

Michelle Alban, vice president of communications for the Canadian market at ViacomCBS, said programming announcements are expected at an undetermined future date.

It's another twist in the increasingly complex world of streaming rights for Canadian viewers.

Last week, ViacomCBS executives pulled out all the stops for the revamp and rename of the U.S. streaming platform. More than 50 new productions were announced for the streaming service in the coming years.

They include original series based on popular Paramount films, among them "Fatal Attraction," "Flashdance" and "The Italian Job." But whether those shows wind up on Paramount Plus in Canada is still unclear.

Several years ago, leadership at ViacomCBS began selling off licensing rights to its marquee CBS All Access original series, including "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Star Trek: Picard."

Those shows went to Canadian broadcaster Bell Media who first aired them on traditional TV channels before they appeared on Crave, its own streaming platform. Others were acquired by fellow streamers.

That left CBS All Access with the leftovers of its own service in Canada, a handful of less memorable shows such as a remake of "The Twilight Zone" and "Why Women Kill."

With its new life under the Paramount Plus brand, the streaming platform's future is still to be charted in Canada.

For now, Paramount Plus will be absent of Hollywood movies and largely house older TV series, such as "Beverly Hills 90210," "Taxi," "The Brady Bunch" and "I Love Lucy," and a live feed of CBS News.

A commercial-free subscription to Paramount Plus will remain at its current price of $5.99 a month in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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