MTV, BET, Comedy Central to suspend programming during gun violence walkout

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Viacom cable networks on Wednesday will suspend regular programming at 10 a.m. EDT in support of a national student walkout over gun violence, according to the media company.

Viacom’s networks, including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central, will be suspending regular programming for 17 minutes in honor of the number of people killed during the February mass shooting at a Florida high school.

The media giant also said students will take over MTV’s social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook, during the walkout.

“This generation continues to be the driving force for change,” said Marva Smalls, Viacom’s executive vice president of global inclusion. “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,” Smalls continued. “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.”

In addition to Wednesday’s suspension of regular programming, Viacom plans to raise awareness through its channels for the “March For Our Lives” event scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on March 24.

The company said it will be offering coverage of the event both on-air and through its digital properties.

MTV and Comedy Central, for example, will change their respective logos to orange in the ten days leading up to the March 24 march to raise awareness around gun violence.

BET (Black Entertainment Television) will be offering grants for youth activists who have “innovative ideas about addressing gun violence and mental health issues,” while CMT plans to work with the country music industry to fight for gun safety.

Viacom also says “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah “plans to continue its ongoing coverage of the growing anti-gun violence movement in the country.”

Organizers have said they are expecting more than 500,000 attendees at the march.