Viacom-owned cable channels went dark for 17 minutes today starting at 10 a.m. ET as a show of solidarity with nationwide school walkouts against gun violence.
The company posted an announcement Tuesday on the Viacom blog saying: “At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, all Viacom networks and platforms will suspend regularly scheduled programming for 17 minutes. This pause will coincide with the National School Walkout, a tribute to the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, and to all young victims of gun violence. Students across the country will take over MTV’s social media accounts during the walkout.”
Besides MTV, Viacom properties taking part included BET, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Comedy Central, TV Land and CMT.
The Viacom announcement notes: “In addition, Shari Redstone, Vice Chair of Viacom’s Board, is personally championing the work of the student activists, contributing time and resources, including a $500,000 donation, to the March For Our Lives movement.”
Viacom Executive Vice President of Global Inclusion Marva Smalls is quoted in the announcement saying: “This generation continues to be the driving force for change. With more than 17 young people dying from gun violence every single day, unfortunately no community is safe. We believe it’s critical to support the inspiring efforts of our youth, who are literally fighting for their lives. Viacom also has a responsibility to our audiences to do everything we can to elevate the many brave and bold activists to help them extend the reach and impact of their voices in this important movement.”
Viacom is also driving awareness of the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., scheduled for March 24, through extensive on-air and digital coverage and on-the-ground initiatives.
“MTV and Comedy Central will change the color of their logos to orange — in support of gun violence awareness — for the 10 days leading up to the event,” Viacom said in its announcement. “‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ plans to continue its ongoing coverage of the growing anti-gun violence movement in the country. So will ‘The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper,’ which will build on its recent interviews with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as well as educators and former military officials on arming teachers, and the 2017 special he produced, ‘Jordan Klepper Solves Guns.’ Paramount Network will capture powerful first-person accounts for its pro-social initiative. Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, which airs that night, will acknowledge the march for its audience of millions.”