CMT (American TV channel)
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Paramount Media Networks|
|Parent||MTV Entertainment Group|
|Launched||March 5, 1983|
|Former names||CMTV (1983), Country Music Television (1983–2010)|
CMT is an American pay television channel owned by Paramount Media Networks, a division of Paramount Global. Launched on March 5, 1983 as Country Music Television, CMT was the first nationally available channel devoted to country music and country music videos, with its programming also including concerts, specials, and biographies of country music stars. Over time, the network's programming expanded to incorporate original lifestyle and reality programming while downplaying its focus on country music.
As of January 2018, approximately 92 million U.S. homes  (or 76.9% of the Nielsen-estimated 119.2 million television households ) receive CMT. The channel's headquarters are located in One Astor Plaza in New York City, and has additional offices in Nashville, Tennessee.
Early years (1983–1991)
CMTV, an initialism for Country Music Television, was founded by Glenn D. Daniels, the owner of Video World Productions in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Daniels put together the ownership group of Telestar Corporation and the Blinder Robinson & Company investment bank in a three-way split. Daniels also served as the program director and the first president of the network. The network launched on March 5, 1983, at 6:19 p.m. CT, beating its chief competitor, The Nashville Network, to air by two days. The first video clip to air on CMT was Faron Young's 1971 hit "It's Four in the Morning". The following summer, MTV filed a trademark infringement lawsuit over the initials CMTV, and the network changed its name to simply CMT.
In 1991, Opryland USA and its owner Gaylord Entertainment Company acquired CMT in a $34 million deal. The network was sold by a group led by radio station owner Robert Sillerman, record producer James Guercio and Nyhl L Henson. Opryland USA and owner Gaylord also owned CMT's competitor The Nashville Network. In October 1992, CMT launched its first international channel, CMT Europe, as part of the Sky Multichannels package. In July 1995, CMT launched its Brazilian version in association with Grupo Abril's TVA. By 1998, Gaylord reported $10 million in losses from CMT Europe and decided to cease broadcasting the network on March 31, 1998. 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.
On October 1, 1994, CMT made its first major format change by adding several new music-oriented programs. 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. 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, relaunching it as a domestic version of CMT.
Under CBS/Viacom (1997–2017)
In 1997, both CMT and TNN were sold to Westinghouse, then-owner of CBS, for a reported $1.5 billion. CBS would in-turn be acquired by Viacom in 1999, assuming ownership of CMT and TNN and folding them into the MTV Networks. TNN would phase out country programming to avoid overlap with CMT, changing its name to "The National Network", and later relaunching altogether as Spike in 2003.
Despite the decrease in music programming, CMT experienced significant ratings gains since its acquisition. By 2007, the channel was available in more than 83 million homes. On April 4, 2012, CMT announced its first adult animated series, Bounty Hunters, and Trinity 911, a 10-episode "workplace docu-comedy". Trinity 911 was later renamed Big Texas Heat and was removed from the schedule after airing four episodes.
As part of its shift back to unscripted programming, CMT announced Music City in September 2017, a reality series created by Adam DiVello of The Hills and Laguna Beach fame. Set in Nashville, Tennessee, the show features Bryant Lowry, a drummer in the Nashville pop band Jet Black Alley Cat. The series premiered on March 1, 2018.
In 2019, Viacom acquired Pluto TV, and launched several CMT-branded channels, including a channel focused on Western genre movies (CMT Westerns) and a channel dedicated to Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
CMT's current programming consists of original southern/blue collar lifestyle and reality shows and acquired general entertainment programming. The channel's daily country music programming consists of a music video block, seen during the early morning hours, as well as CMT Hot Twenty, which airs on weekend mornings. Of Viacom's former music channels (not counting its suite of all-music digital channels), CMT has historically been the most devoted to music-related programming and previously set aside at least six hours of its daily schedule for music videos during the overnight and morning hours. In addition, most of CMT's original programming is centered or related to the Culture of Dallas or Nashville, Tennessee, where the network's studios are located.
CMT's music mix is primarily focused on mainstream hit country songs, but also includes occasional videos from crossover, Americana, and alternative acts (dubbed "CMT Edge"). Specials seen on the network include the annual CMT Music Awards, featuring awards in various categories and performances by country music artists, and CMT Crossroads, which pairs country music artists with musicians from other music genres.
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Launched||August 1, 1998|
|Former names||VH1 Country (1998–2006) |
CMT Pure Country (2006–16)
CMT Music (formerly CMT Pure Country) is an American pay television channel and a sister network to CMT. It is part of the Paramount Media Networks division of Paramount Global. It showcases country music videos, using the same 8-hour programming wheel schedule as its sister networks.
The network was first launched as VH1 Country, a country music video-oriented spinoff of VH1. The channel launched on August 1, 1998, predating the merger of CBS Cable networks TNN and CMT into Viacom). On May 27, 2006, the channel rebranded as CMT Pure Country, as part of a realignment to use the CMT brand for all country music-related programming.
On January 4, 2016, the network's name was changed to CMT Music. Outside of the addition of full-length video tags throughout videos and new imaging, no major changes came to the channel's programming. In 2015, the network discontinued specific video blocks due to that year's cutbacks throughout Viacom, including music video programmers.
The network has lost carriage throughout time with the growth of the Internet streaming and CMT no longer being considered among ViacomCBS's 'prime networks', and has generally been depreciated by ViacomCBS in current retransmission consent negotiations with cable and streaming providers for other options such as its Pluto TV streaming service, which provides several CMT and Vevo-branded country music channels. in 2021, Spectrum removed it from their current-day packages, with only grandfathered subscribers with older packages able to view the network.
Currently, the network offers an eight-hour wheel of videos, all under the EPG-only title of CMT Music with little theming of video blocks outside promoting special events such as the CMT Music Awards nominees and winners around the ceremony. As Pure Country, the network featured branded blocks of programming sub-divided by genres and periods of time.
- Pure Vintage featured a mix of classic and vintage country music videos that were filmed and aired prior to 2000, including older performance video clips of songs. The block aired for 30 minutes, twice a day. As of 2015, it is no longer included on the schedule.
- The Edge Bluegrass, neo-traditionalist country, and Americana music videos are featured. Originally branded as Wide Open Country
- Studio 330 Sessions Live sessions recorded at CMT's studios in Nashville (330 refers to CMT's Nashville address, 330 Commerce Street), which has since been discontinued with CMT's growing reality-specific focus. Segments from the sessions continue to air in the channel's current rotation.
- Pure 12 Pack Countdown As with all of MTV's countdown shows, a limited pool of videos was voted on by fans online and sorted by popularity without industry or recording metrics.
International & Related Networks
- CMT Europe - Launched in October 1992 and closed in March 1998.
- CMT Brazil - Launched in July 1995 and closed in March 2001. Replaced by MusicCountry.
- CMT Australia - Launched on July 1, 2020 as a replacement for Country Music Channel. Dedicated to country music videos.
- CMT Music - Dedicated to country music videos. Launched on August 1, 1998 as "VH1 Country" and rebranded as "CMT Pure Country" from May 27, 2006 to January 4, 2016.
- CMT (Canada) - Canadian version majority-owned by Corus Entertainment with Viacom owning a 10% stake in the channel. Unlike its American counterpart, CMT Canada shifted its focus toward family-oriented programming. The network has only sparingly acquired shows and specials sourced from the U.S. version in-favor of producing its own original programming. The channel previously aired country music programming during the daytime hours and general entertainment programming in the evenings; it would abandon the former format altogether in August 2017. It was originally launched as the "New Country Network" on January 1, 1995.
- The Nashville Network - A former rival network. It became a sibling to CMT in 1997 and eventually shifted to a general entertainment format to prevent overlap. Its original incarnation was relaunched as Spike TV in 2003 and, later, Paramount Network in 2018.
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- Maue, Savanna. "Bryant Lowry, a musician with Topeka roots, featured in upcoming CMT show 'Music City'". The Topeka Capital. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
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- "Viacom Announces Completion of Pluto TV Acquisition". www.businesswire.com. March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
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