Net gears up reality skein for next season

CMT has renewed reality competish “Cowboy U” for a fifth season, marking the most number of cycles ever ordered for a CMT series.

MTV Networks-owned cabler has greenlit eight episodes for the first quarter of 2006. Triage-produced skein, which debuted in August 2003, continues to grow season to season, with the fourth ranking as the show’s most watched among total viewers and 18-49.

“This is a nice point in our history as a network because we’re looking to do more of these kind of entertainment series that resonate with our audience,” said CMT veep of programming and development Paul Villadolid.

Upcoming network premieres include “Man vs. Vegas,” a reality series about one man’s return to Las Vegas to recoup the $3 million he lost years ago, and “American Soldier,” a docu series described as a sort of real-life “Over There.” Skeins bow in October and November, respectively.

In “Cowboy U,” professional cowboy Rocco Wachman and champion bull rider Judd Leffew train eight participants — most recent edition featured an attorney and a ballet teacher — to do the job of a working cowboy. Contestants are taught horseback riding, calf roping, livestock handling and bull riding; skein culminates in a four-event rodeo for a $25,000 cash prize.

For July, CMT drew an average 313,000 viewers in primetime while posting gains of 25% in 18-34.

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