CMT (U.S. TV channel)

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For the Canadian channel of the same name, see CMT (Canada).
CMT logo
Launched March 5, 1983
Owned by Viacom Media Networks (Viacom)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan Get country.
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Formerly called CMTV (1983)
Sister channel(s) MTV, MTV2, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, CMT Pure Country, CMT Canada, Spike, TV Land, Palladia, VH1 Classic
DirecTV 327 (HD/SD)
1327 (VOD)
Dish Network 166 (HD/SD)
Verizon FiOS 221 (SD)
Available on most cable providers Check your local listings for details

CMT (formerly an initialism of Country Music Television, and previously abbreviated as CMTV) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the MTV Networks Music & Logo Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. Programming on the channel includes country music videos, taped concerts, movies, biographies of country music stars, game shows, and reality programs.

As of February 2015, approximately 86,989,000 American households (74.7% of households with television) receive CMT.[1]


Early years (1983–1991)[edit]

CMT was launched on March 5, 1983, at 6:19 p.m. CT;[2] it was created and founded by Glenn D. Daniels and uplinked from the Video World Productions facility in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Daniels put together the investor group of Telestar Corporation and the penny stock securities firm Blinder, Robinson & Company in a three-way ownership split.

Daniels also served as the program director and the first president of the network, originally called CMTV but officially named "Country Music Television" (the "V" was dropped in response to a complaint by competitor MTV). CMT beat its chief competitor, The Nashville Network (TNN), to the air by two days. CMT was positioned to play country music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while TNN was geared toward programming lending itself to a "country lifestyle". The very first video clip to air on CMT was a performance clip of country music legend Faron Young's classic 1971 hit, "It's Four in the Morning".

Gaylord years (1991–1997)[edit]

The network's second logo (preceded by the original "CMTV" and full name "Country Music Television" logos), used from 1988 until 2004.

In 1991, Opryland USA and its owner Gaylord Entertainment Company acquired CMT in a $30 million deal.[3] The network was sold by a group led by radio station owner Robert Sillerman and record producer James Guercio.[3] Opryland USA and owner Gaylord also owned CMT's major competitor The Nashville Network.

In September 1993, CMT launched its first international channel, CMT Europe, as part of the Sky Multichannels package. By 1998, Gaylord reported $10 million in losses from CMT Europe and decided to cease broadcasting the declining network on March 31, 1998.[4] Gaylord had planned to emulate the successful model created by E!, by selling large programming blocks to other European channels, but these plans never occurred.[4]

In 1994, Gaylord made its first major format change for CMT by adding several new music video programs, including Big Ticket, Jammin' Country, The Signature Series, CMT Delivery Room, and CMT Top 12 Countdown.[5] All shows eventually were cancelled by 2001.

In 1995, CMT dropped all videos by Canadian artists without U.S. record contracts in response to the network being replaced in Canada by Calgary, Alberta-based New Country Network.[6] By March 1996, CMT had eventually returned the dropped videos to its playlist after reaching an agreement to acquire a 20% ownership of New Country Network, in addition to renaming it CMT.[7]

CBS/Viacom years (1997–present)[edit]

CMT's headquarters are located in offices in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1997, both CMT and TNN were sold to Westinghouse, then-owner of CBS for a reported $1.5 billion.[8] The acquisition of the two country-themed networks, along with the formation of the ill-fated CBS Eye On People network, and two regional sports networks (the Baltimore-area Home Team Sports, now Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest Sports Channel in the Twin Cities, now Fox Sports North) formed the CBS Cable division, based in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry and a Charlotte office at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

In 1999, Viacom acquired CBS, assuming ownership of CMT and TNN and folding them into the MTV Networks stable. The resulting moves in 2000 led to the closing of the CBS Charlotte office, while Viacom changed the format of TNN, eventually renaming it The National Network and then reformatting it again as Spike. Viacom also changed the format of CMT, modeling it after sister networks MTV and VH1 to include series and movies, in addition to music videos. Over time, the number of music videos on the network had steadily decreased with the late May 2006 rebranding of digital cable network VH1 Country to CMT Pure Country, with music video programming on CMT eventually being relegated mainly to the overnight and morning hours (similar to MTV and VH1).

Despite the decrease in music videos, CMT has experienced significant ratings gains since its acquisition by MTV Networks in 1999. By 2007, the channel was available in more than 83 million homes.[9] As of 2009, the network now reaches 88 million homes.

On April 4, 2012, CMT announced its first cartoon series, Bounty Hunters, featuring the voices of Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall who also serve as executive producers. CMT also announced that it would air Trinity 911, a 10-episode "workplace docu-comedy" that follows the police force in a small Texas town.[10] Trinity 911 was later renamed Big Texas Heat[11] and removed from the schedule after airing four episodes.

Current programming[edit]

CMT's current programming features country music-oriented shows (including country music videos and taped concerts), country lifestyle-oriented shows, older shows and movies that prominently feature country or Southern-rock music, and (especially since the late 2000s) some general entertainment programming, mainly dealing with Southern culture and life.

CMT currently devotes the most time to music videos, with at least six hours of the daily schedule set aside for them during the overnight and morning hours. CMT's music mix is primarily focused on mainstream hit country songs, but also includes occasional videos from crossover, Americana and alternative acts. CMT's HD simulcast channel (as with all of MTV's HD networks) currently does carry music videos in high definition.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Billboard April 9, 1983 and Hendersonville Free Press April 6, 1983". 
  3. ^ a b "Nashville Net closes CMT acquisition deal". Retrieved 2009-09-03.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b Katz, Richard (1998-02-03). "Gaylord shutters CMT Euro". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  5. ^ "CMT launches new series". BNET. Retrieved 2009-09-03. [dead link]
  6. ^ "U.S. country TV drops Canadian videos". Toronto Star. 1995-01-10. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  7. ^ "Country music TV channels in accord". Toronto Star. 1996-03-08. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  8. ^ "CBS makes cable a 'core business;' with purchase of TNN and CMT, network doubles its cable holdings.(cable television networks)" Article from: Broadcasting & Cable: February 17, 1997 Author: Katz, Michael
  9. ^ Underwood, Ryan (2007-04-15). "If it has a screen, CMT is on it". The Tennessean. 
  10. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 4, 2012). "CMT Picks Up Two New Series: 'Bounty Hunters,' and 'Trinity 911'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ "CMT Lines Up Big Premieres for November with Returning Favorite "Redneck Island" Along with New Series "Chainsaw Gang" and "Big Texas Heat"". The Futon Critic. October 15, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 

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