×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CMT Hopes to Build on ‘Nashville’ Success in TV Upfront

CMT wants to use the music drama “Nashville” to get itself on the map close to Madison Avenue.

The Viacom-owned cable network has seen year-over-year growth in the audiences advertisers covet – viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 – and the network’s executive vice president of development, Jayson Dinsmore, wants to court more people like them. Since CMT picked up the fifth season of “Nashville” after ABC canceled it, executives saw an incredible rush of new viewers, and fortunately, they liked what they saw,” said Dinsmore. “We are attracting fans with many other interests, empowering us to broaden the aperture while still staying true to our musical roots.”

Music remains a bedrock element of the network, but its current approach shows what can happen when network executives roll out a slightly different tune. Once known as the home of the bawdy reality series “Party Down South,” CMT has in recent months made a bid to play to a more cosmopolitan crowd, adding a sitcom starring Billy Ray Cyrus and an ambitious drama, “Sun Records,” depicting the early days of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock pioneers. CMT has even tried some documentaries. Network executives have been touting 21 consecutive weeks of ratings growth in meeting with ad buyers, and are on the hunt to bring new sponsors to its air. Coca-Cola, Sony and American Express have come to CMT for the first time, said Dinsmore, with the soda giant getting placement in the most recent “Nashville” season. “These aren’t advertisers you would typically associated with CMT historically,” he said, in an interview.

The programming push comes as parent Viacom has said it wants to focus more intently on six of its networks: MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., BET and the soon-to-be-launched Paramount Network. CMT’s Dinsmore said the announcement of that strategy initially sparked some questions, but Viacom, he said, will continue to give the network the same level of support and the same investment in programming. “We are all on the same page,” he added.

This summer, CMT will roll out signature music events and specials, including the  “2017 CMT Music Awards” hosted by “Nashville’s” Charles Esten on June 7. CMT will premiere its first outdoor version of “CMT Crossroads” featuring Earth Wind & Fire  joined by country stars including Lady Antebellum.

The midseason premiere of “Nashville” is set to debut June 1, along with a digital after-show series, “NashChat.” “Still The King,” the Billy Ray Cyrus comedy, returns for a second season in July.

The network will use “Nashville” to boost two of its unscripted series. Both “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team” and “I Love Kellie Pickler,” will premiere on Thursday, August 3  following new episodes of “Nashville.”

CMT will also offer an original movie. The  broadcast premiere of “To Joey, With Love” takes place on Wednesday, June 21. The film, from Lionsgate’s Anchor Bay, tells the story of Joey and Rory Feek., who were named the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top Vocal Duo. The project takes viewers from the birth of their daughter Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, through Joey Feek’s struggle with cancer.“To Joey, With Love” was written, filmed and directed by Rory Feek and produced by Aaron Carnahan. It was executive produced by Ben Howard and edited by Daniel Grace along with Rory Feek.

CMT’s Dinsmore promises more to come.  “We do have one big development deal with a huge A-list talent that will be going later this summer,” he said. “Everyone will be surprised and excited.”

 

 

More TV

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director, Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content