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CBS and Reliance launching Prime, Spark and Love channels

CBS Studios International and Reliance Broadcast Network are launching a joint venture, BIG CBS Networks. The US and Indian media companies will start rolling out English-language TV channels in India, programmed with CBS content, before the end of the year.

The first three offerings will be BIG CBS Prime, and BIG CBS Spark and BIG CBS Love.

CBS Prime will be a general entertainment offering, CBS Spark a youth-skewed channel and CBS Love an entertainment network for women.

CBS and Reliance did not specify the programming line-up for the channels, but did say new CBS shows including Hawaii Five-O, The Defenders and Blue Bloods will feature alongside existing hit franchises including NCIS, America’s Next Top Model and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The partners added that the channels will also draw on the 70,000 hour CBS catalogue and will acquire from third party distributors. In-house production will be considered at a later date.

“The vast programming, production and media resources of our two companies position us extremely well to serve audiences, advertisers and all constituents of these new channels,” said Armando Nunez, president, CBS Studios International. “This is an exciting alliance with potential for amazing synergies and new opportunities for our companies in one of the world’s most dynamic business and media markets.”

The CBS-Reliance link-up is the latest joint venture announced between large US media companies and their Indian counterparts. Viacom, which was the corporate parent of CBS before the company was split in two in 2005, already operates a successful India-focused JV. It linked with India’s TV18 to launch Viacom 18, which in turn launched the successful general entertainment channel Colors.

The Indian deal with Reliance, meanwhile, is CBS’ second major foray into channels in recent times after it linked with Chellomedia to launch CBS Reality, CBS Action and CBS Drama channels in the UK.