Bob Kusbit to depart network at year's end

Bob Kusbit, the architect behind CMT’s unscripted expansion and recent move into scripted programming, is departing the network.

Kusbit, who had served as head of development, will refocus his attention on running his One Louder Prods. shingle at the start of 2011.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time,” Kusbit said. “CMT was supposed to be a short-term thing for me, which is why they let me keep my company up and running. But it turned into so much fun that I stayed here far longer than expected. It was a tough decision.”

Kusbit, whose company has an overall deal with MTV Networks (where it produces MTV’s “Made”), will now get to produce fare for CMT as well. CMT has already greenlit episodes of “Made” — featuring an older mix of participants than the MTV edition — to be tailor-fit for the network.

The MTV version centers on teens who want to become performers, athletes and other aspirations. The CMT version will focus on people between 25-54 who still harbor those kind of dreams — but in this case, their decision to pursue those dreams impacts their families and others around them.

“I’ve been wanting to produce a version of ‘Made’ for an older audience for some time,” Kusbit said. “It’s a very emotional show.”

CMT is currently looking at both internal and external candidates to fill Kusbit’s job, but hasn’t yet selected successor. Among the possibilities: producer and TV exec Brad Johnson, who has been overseeing CMT’s entry into the sitcom world as senior VP of comedy.

Kusbit had overseen development and production at CMT since 2007. While there, he launched CMT hits such as “Gone Country,” “My Big Redneck Wedding” and “World’s Strictest Parents.” Kusbit is also an exec producer on CMT’s upcoming Melissa Peterman comedy “Working Class,” which debuts next month.

A vet of MTV Networks, Kusbit also helped create “Total Request Live.”

“Bob brought a fun perspective and contagious energy to CMT,” said CMT prexy Brian Philips. “We’ll miss having him around every day, but we’re thrilled he’ll remain a part of the CMT family.”

Kusbit said he’s proud of his contribution to CMT’s move away from a heavy reliance on musicvideos and into the space of reality shows like “Gone Country” and “My Big Redneck Wedding,” as well as the push into scripted.

“For years they talked about it but were afraid because of the financial responsibilities,” he said. “I’m proud we finally pulled the trigger. If ever there was a channel that should have sitcoms, it’s CMT.”

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