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Country web to go ‘Live’

Series signals station's relaunch

NEW YORK — CMT: Country Music TV has committed to its most ambitious program yet, “CMT Most Wanted Live,” a daily hourlong show at 6 p.m. featuring Q&As with top country artists, TV premieres of new videos, and updates of news and information about country music.

“We’re using this series to plant our flag and begin the relaunching of CMT,” said VP of program development and production Kaye Zusmann. Since it started operation in 1983, CMT has filled its 24-hour schedule mostly with wall-to-wall musicvideos. Under the new strategy, the web will add more original programming to its lineup.

Zusmann said she was in development with “Most Wanted Live” well before MTV’s daily hourlong “Total Request Live” started harvesting big audiences every afternoon at 4. But since MTV is a sister company of CMT (both are a part of Viacom), it didn’t hurt that “Total Request” has become a big revenue generator for MTV.

Another sister net, TNN, will help CMT chalk up more viewers by allowing it to run a simulcast of “TNN Country Weekly Music Awards,” the three-hour special that goes out live June 13 at 8 p.m. EDT.