Jayson Dinsmore is departing CMT after six years leading development at the Viacom-owned cable channel. The move comes as Viacom continues to reorganize the executive leadership within its television group.
Dinsmore joined CMT as exec VP of programming in 2011 from NBC, where he had served as senior VP of alternative development. He helped lead CMT’s transition from a country-music channel to a strategy that emphasized original programming with broader appeal. That approach first relied on reality series such as “Party Down South.” In recent years Dinsmore and CMT pivoted to scripted programming with the acquisition of drama series “Nashville” after it was canceled by ABC, the development of the channel’s first scripted comedy in “Still the King” starring Billy Ray Cyrus, and ambitious event miniseries “Sun Records.”
“During his seven-year tenure, he helped evolve CMT from a music video channel to a fully realized brand,” CMT general manager said Frank Tanki wrote Monday in a memo to staff announcing Dinsmore’s departure. “In our short time working together, I’ve come to quickly admire his creative energy and instincts, as well as his love for CMT and every one of you.”
CMT has been in a continuous state of leadership transition since before February, when Viacom CEO Bob Bakish rolled out new strategy for the media company that included rebranding Spike TV as Paramount Network. The relaunched channel would serve as one of what Bakish identified as six core cable brands to which Viacom is shifting resources — along with BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick Jr., and Nickelodeon.
CMT, TV Land, VH1, Logo and other channels, were relegated to supporting status. Those channels still generate significant revenue for Viacom and are not slated to disappear, but neither are they expected to be the recipients of major investment from the parent company going forward.
Ahead of Bakish’s strategy announcement, oversight of TV Land and CMT were given to Spike president Kevin Kay, who would continue to lead that channel as it transitions to Paramount Network.
TV Land and CMT, which longtime Spike TV president Kay was given oversight of ahead of the strategy announcement, are set to be relegated to secondary status in the new structure. In June, longtime CMT president Brian Philips stepped down, with Tanki coming aboard as GM and Keith Cox, president of programming and development for Paramount Network and TV Land, taking charge of development for CMT.
Read the full memos from Tanki and Dinsmore below. From Tanki:
Team- I have an update on the development front. We’re taking the next steps in centralizing the development teams for Paramount, CMT and TV Land under Keith Cox. As part of this transition, Jayson Dinsmore will step down as CMT’s head of development.
Kevin and I want to commend Jayson for his tremendous contributions. During his seven-year tenure, he helped evolve CMT from a music video channel to a fully realized brand. In our short time working together, I’ve come to quickly admire his creative energy and instincts, as well as his love for CMT and every one of you. He embodies the spirit of the channel and we will build upon his strong legacy by continuing to create memorable stories and characters that showcase the best attributes of our audience.
Jayson leaves us in fantastic shape. Thanks to all of your hard work, CMT is rounding out its best fiscal year since 2014. We’re currently at 9 months of consecutive ratings growth and are finishing a strong quarter. In total day, we’re up 15 % percent with adults and a stellar 20% with women.
Looking to the future, our goal is to build upon this success to position Paramount, CMT and TV Land as the preeminent destinations for adult viewers. To succeed, we will need to create a unified voice while also maintaining each brand’s unique personality and attributes. By streamlining these development teams, we’ll be able to explore multi-brand talent development and first-look deals, while creating one focal point for the creative community. We’ll also be able to work more closely with marketing and ad sales to find creative synergies and opportunities at the group and brand levels.
CMT has a strong and proven development team that will now report directly into Keith, who has been leading the charge for CMT since June. A Kentucky native, he’s returning to his roots as he immerses himself in the brand with the goal of building upon our success to further capitalize on the new and growing fan-base we cultivated this year. We’re actively fast-tracking several projects and will announce new programming in the coming months.
I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Keith this year over at TV Land. He’s smart, highly creative, loves his teams and above all else, creating bold stories and characters. I look forward to bringing him to Nashville soon to meet each and every one of you.
Thank you, Jayson, and thanks to each of you for your unwavering hard work and support as we build toward a strong future.
One of my biggest dreams came true by being given the opportunity to work alongside each and every one of you.
Together, we saved “Nashville,” witnessed mind-blowing music events, produced critically acclaimed documentaries, introduced the birth of rock ‘n’ roll to a new generation, revived the mullet (or rather tried to), broke some skulls and did more than our share of “Partying Down South.”
CMT is an amazing and important place. Music is your heart and soul, but more importantly you are a true family.
Thanks to my incredible team in LA and Nashville. You’ve pushed me creatively and made me a better person.
Nashville has become my home-away-from-home. I will miss the frequent flyer miles, but most importantly, walking the halls and laughing with each of you.
I’ve had the privilege to learn from legendary creative forces…Brian, Van and Cyma. I am lucky to count this crew as mentors… and thankful to call them my friends. And call I will!
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Kevin, Frank and Keith, who’ve been great partners and strong advocates for the brand. I know they will continue to work closely with Suzanne, Anthony, Kurt and Leslie to build a great future.
I’ll be cheering you on. Thank you for allowing me to crash your party for 7 crazy beautiful years.
Much love – Jayson