Viacom has closed its £450m ($720m) acquisition of free-to-air UK broadcaster Channel 5.

The deal, first announced at the start of May, has received unconditional clearance from the European Commission.

The US media giant, which operates MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, has also ordered two major co-commissions between its pay channels and C5.

C5 and MTV UK have jointly commissioned factual entertainment format 10,000 BC from The Garden and GroupM Entertainment. The show will see 20 contestants live in Stone Age conditions, forgoing the comforts and conveniences of the modern world.

Jointly order by C5’s factual commissioning editor Simon Raikes and MTV’s vice president of commissioning Steve Regan it will launch as a 10 x 60-minute series on the terrestrial channel, with a 5 x 60-minute spin-off on MTV.

Separately, Nickelodeon is partnering with C5’s pre-school block Milkshake to develop animated series Nella The Knight. The series, which is co-funded by both broadcasters, will air on both channels.

Meanwhile, SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also start airing on C5, joining Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, which currently air on both channels.

New structure

C5 director of programming Ben Frow will report to David Lynn, executive vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks UK and will join a senior management team that also includes MTV UK general manager Kerry Taylor and Comedy Central UK managing director Jill Offman.

Nick Bampton, C5’s commercial director of sales, will also report to Lynn, while chief operating officer Paul Dunthorne, who is one of Richard Desmond’s longest serving employees, will also report to Lynn.

As indicated earlier this week, C5’s advertising sales team will also be retained following the deal.

UK investment

Viacom president and chief executive Philippe Dauman said that the network planned to significantly increase its investment in British content following the acquisition.

“We are committed to strengthening C5’s status as one of UK broadcasting’s premier brands, and we will continue to grow the network’s pipeline of original programming with more quality commissions, as well as acquisitions,” he said.

“The addition of Channel 5 will also benefit our existing UK pay television channel portfolio, as demonstrated by the announcement of our first two original programming commissions”.