CMT has picked up one of its highest-rated series, The Singing Bee, for a fourth season on the cable network and fifth overall as the reality shows started off on NBC before moving to CMT. The karaoke singing competition, from Juma Entertainment and the Gurin Co., is hosted by Melissa Peterman. Local versions of The Singing Bee have been produced in 30 countries, with the Gurin Co. shopping the format to additional buyers at NATPE this coming week.
CMT has greenlighted two new docu-reality series: Melissa and Tye: A New Reality starring Melissa Rycroft, which is executive produced by Ryan Seacrest, and I Love Jennie, starring Jennie Garth. Both have received orders for eight half-hour episodes for April premieres and will be showcased during CMT’s portion of the upcoming TCA Winter press tour.
A Texas state court issued a simple denial today of Time Warner Cable’s motion to dismiss the case that pits it against Viacom so it could be heard by a U.S. District Court in New York City. Viacom argued that the cable company wanted to muddy the issues in two distinct cases: The one in Texas involves Time Warner Cable’s claim that CMT isn’t delivering the kind of programming it promised in a 2004 carriage agreement. The other case, in New York, is about whether Time Warner Cable’s programming agreements with Viacom include the right to stream shows to customers’ iPads. In the CMT case, Time Warner Cable says that it agreed to carry a channel largely devoted to country music. But the music on CMT, it says, ”has been replaced almost entirely by movies and television series, which for the most part bear no relationship to country music.” Viacom counters that “overall programming approach and brand filtering has remained consistent.” Country music fans, it says, now prefer “a greater variety of programming” including non-music shows that have the “same types of values and stories” embodied by country music.
CMT has announced the pickup of four new unscripted series: Top Secret Recipe featuring chef Todd Wilbur, and Trick My What? with John Schneider, both of which will premiere Oct. 7, and Bayou Billionaires and Summer Rental, which will launch in winter. In addition to Fridays, where Top Secret Recipe and Trick My What? will air, CMT will open a second night of original programming in the fall on Thursday with the returning Sweet Home Alabama and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, which will debut new seasons Oct. 20. CMT’s upcoming slate also includes the November premiere of CMT’s second original movie, Reel Love, starring LeAnn Rimes and Burt Reynolds, and new episodes of music series CMT Crossroads and Invitation Only. After flirting with scripted comedies last year by ordering four pilots — one of which, Working Class, went to series — CMT focused on growing its unscripted slate under former NBC reality executive Jayson Dinsmore who joined CMT as EVP development and programming in February. CMT successfully launched two reality series this summer: Texas Women and Sweet Home Alabama. Here are descriptions of CMT’s new series:
EXCLUSIVE: Former TV Land and Ryan Seacrest Prods executive Eliot Goldberg has joined CMT on the West Coast as SVP Development and Programming. He will oversee development of new programming — both unscripted and scripted — reporting to Jayson Dinsmore, EVP Development and Programming. CMT has been expanding into reality, most recently launching new Thursday series Texas Women and Sweet Home Alabama. It also ventured into scripted television with sitcom Working Class, which ran for one season. Goldberg recently served as SVP Development and Original Programming at a cable network that has found success with original sitcoms — TV Land. There he developed and oversaw scripted and non-scripted programming. Goldberg was involved in the development of scripted comedies Hot in Cleveland, Retired at 35 and Happily Divorced. His recent reality series include High School Reunion and Harry Loves Lisa. Before TV Land, Goldberg was EVP Programming and Development for Ryan Seacrest Prods at the company’s launch. He created, developed and executive produced such series as mega hit Keeping Up With the Kardashians, offshoot Khourtney and Khloe Take Miami and Denise Richards: It’s Complicated.
CMT’s first foray into scripted TV proved short-lived. The music-driven cable network has canceled its first original sitcom, Working Class, after one season. “Unfortunately, CMT will not be pursuing a second season of Working Class,” a note posted today on the show’s Facebook page read. “We’re sad to see it go, but you can still catch Melissa Peterman in new episodes of The Singing Bee.” Working Class stars Peterman as a single mom trying to give her kids a better life by moving them to an upscale suburb. Ed Asner stars as the cranky, surly neighbor and co-worker. Word is the series, created by Jill Cargerman, is now being shopped to other networks, including TV Land. Working Class started off OK, drawing 1.2 million viewers and a .50 rating in adults 18-49 in its January premiere, but slipped subsequently during its run, which concluded with the first-season finale April 1.
Christopher Lloyd has been tapped for the last lead role in NBC’s untitled Dan Goor comedy. The multicamera centers on Dr. Adam Foote (Andrew J. West), who leaves a broken relationship and a job as hospital administrator in Boston to come home to Maryland and join the family practice, which includes his doting mom, Dr. Barbara Foote (Jean Smart), his father, Dr. George Foote (Jere Burns), and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Foote (Lloyd). Also cast in the pilot in guest starring/recurring roles are Octavia Spencer, Courtney Henggeler, Eddie Pepitone and Fahim Anwar, who is repped by Principato-Young. Gersh-repped Lloyd recently appeared on Fox’s Fringe.
Burt Reynolds is set to co-star opposite LeAnne Rimes in the CMT movie Reel Love, one of the first two films to come out of the newly created CMT Original Movies division, which will produce TV movies with a focus on romantic comedies and music-based films. Reel Love stars Rimes as Holly, a successful big-city girl who returns to her small-town roots after a family emergency. She then embarks on a soulful, comedic journey to reconnect with family and friends and find meaningful romance along the way. Reynold will play Holly’s father, a grizzled ex-Army, ex-cop, ex-trucker. The movie is set to begin production in late April in Ontario and will premiere in September. Reynolds, repped by KLWG and APA, will next be seen …
EXCLUSIVE: After entering the scripted series arena last year with its first crop of comedy pilots, which yielded its first scripted series, Working Class, CMT is expanding into another area of original programming. The country music-themed cable network has established CMT Original Movies, a new division that will produce TV movies for the network with a focus on romantic comedies and music-based films. The first two movies in the franchise, which will be released in late summer, are To the Mat (working title), starring Ricky Schroder and actress-singer Laura Bell Bundy; and Reel Love, starring actress-country star LeAnn Rimes. Both films will be produced by Entertainment One Television under head of MOWs Ira Pincus. “We’ve had great ratings success programming with acquired theatrical romantic comedies, so it is only natural for us to create original stories that are tailor-made for the CMT audience,” said CMT’s SVP programming Mary Beth Cunin.
Written by C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama) and directed by Rob Iscove (She’s All That), To the Mat tells the story of a laid-back ex-wrestler (Schroder) who’s trying to keep his family’s down-and-out southern wrestling school above water. When his mother hires an uptight Wall Street consultant from New York (Bell Bundy) to help get the books in order, the two opposites must find a way to get along and save the family business. The movie is currently in production …
Former SVP alternative development at NBC Jayson Dinsmore has joined CMT as EVP development. He will oversee all development for the channel and manage the network’s development team, based primarily out of CMT’s Santa Monica offices, reporting to CMT president Brian Philips. Dinsmore succeeds Bob Kusbit who recently left to return to producing full-time. Philips called Dinsmore “a production-savvy executive with a deep background in hit reality, (who) enjoys a terrific reputation within the LA community.” Dinsmore exited NBC amidst an executive restructuring in the alternative department a year ago. He spent a decade at the peacock network serving in several capacities, including SVP alternative development and VP alternative programming and development. He oversaw such shows as Deal or No Deal, The Sing-Off, Minute To Win It, The Restaurant and Three Wishes as well as production on a number of specials, including the Golden Globes, the Tournament of Roses and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants. He was an executive producer on Last Comic Standing and I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! On Friday, CMT’s fist original scripted series, sitcom Working Class, debuted to solid 1.2 million viewers.
CMT has picked up one of its highest-rated series, The Singing Bee, for a third season. The karaoke singing competition, from Juma Entertainment and the Gurin Co., is hosted by Melissa Peterman, who also toplines the network’s first scripted sitcom, Working Class, slated to premiere on Jan. 28. Singing Bee creator Gurin, who executive produces the series with Bob Horowitz, has signed with CAA. He was most recently at Octagon with John Ferriter who previously repped him at WMA. Gurin is also creator/executive producer of CMT’s Your Chance to Dance and has served as an executive producer on the Miss Universe and Miss USA shows on NBC for the past 8 years. His business manager is Alan Goldman.
EXCLUSIVE: CMT is officially in the scripted series business with the pickup of comedy pilot Working Class to series. I hear the cable network has given the the multi-camera project from writer/executive producer Jill Cargerman (Gary Unmarried) a 12-episode order. Working Class stars Reba alumna and The Singing Bee host Melissa Peterman