In its first major television move since its acquisition by Amazon closed, MGM announced today that its premium channel EPIX is getting a new name — and at least four news shows to add to its lineup in 2023.
EPIX will become MGM+.
The rebranding will be official on January 15, 2023. The à la carte service will continue to be available as a premium cable channel; an add-on to digital services such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Roku, or YouTube TV; and a $5.99 standalone over-the-top streaming service (via the “EPIX NOW” app).
The service will be home to the new 1970s crime thriller Hotel Cocaine; Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia: The Next Chapter; and a pair of documentary series, San Francisco Sounds (working title) and an untitled series on the Amityville murders. These will join EPIX’s current line-up of originals, including War of the Worlds, the sci-fi horror series FROM and the Emmy-winning Godfather of Harlem.
MGM+ will also host more classic films and franchises from the studio’s library, including James Bond, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Robocop, Platoon, Barbershop, The Pink Panther, and more.
“The good news is, Amazon has increased investment in content,” EPIX/MGM+ head Michael Wright told Variety. He said that MGM’s new owners are “really helping us to grow this thing. So, we’re doing more of the same with, I will say, a greater emphasis on and celebration of MGM. We’re not going to be exclusive to MGM, we’re still going to be acquiring films from other studios. But a celebration of the MGM brand is a is a bigger part now of the service.”
It’s the biggest TV-related announcement by MGM since Amazon’s purchase of the studio was completed in March. Of the new shows, one (Hotel Cocaine) will be produced in-house by EPIX Studios.
Until now the companies have had little to say about their future television plans (aside from shows already put in production ahead of the deal). That includes the future of the Stargate franchise, which has been off the air for 11 years.
Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe did recently make their return to Amazon Prime Video in the United States, a small but encouraging signal that Amazon may be working toward a larger plan for the science fiction jewel. Stargate already has a global audience, and it continues to have an active fan base more than a decade after Atlantis, SGU, and plans for more SG-1 movies were all cancelled within the span of about two and a half years.
In light of Amazon’s $8.45 billion buy-out, it is notable that an MGM-owned studio arm has greenlit new scripted series for an outlet that is not Prime Video — although MGM+ will be available through Prime as a paid add-on channel. As Wright suggested, MGM+ will continue to draw more heavily on MGM content while also continuing to acquire content from other studios.
Previous industry speculation had previously suggested that Amazon might close the doors on EPIX and roll its content straight into Prime Video.
EPIX originally launched in 2009 as a joint venture between several Hollywood studios. MGM bought out its remaining partners Viacom and Lionsgate in 2017, giving it full control over the channel.