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CMT Launches Original Movie Division, Greenlights First Two Telefilms

By | Tuesday March 15, 2011 @ 10:26am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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 … Read More »

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PILOT CASTINGS: Eliza Dushku Exits ‘Bird Dog’, Ricky Schroder Joins ‘Meet Jane’

Nellie Andreeva

That was quick: Eliza Dushku has pulled out of TNT’s drama pilot Bird Dog. I hear she exited the project over the weekend, several days after she closed a deal to star in the drama, a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of a father-daughter cop duo.

Meanwhile, NYPD Blue and 24 alum Ricky Schroder has signed on to star opposite Molly Parker in the Lifetime pilot Meet Jane. The project, from Warner Horizon, centers on Jane Bilinski (Parker) whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband (Schroder), a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia. Read More »

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