MTM Enterprises

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MTM Enterprises, Inc.
Corporation
Industry Television production
Fate Folded into 20th Century Fox Television
Founded 1969
Defunct 1998
Key people
Mary Tyler Moore
Grant Tinker
Parent TVS Entertainment (1988-1992)
International Family Entertainment (1992-1997)
News Corporation (1997-1998)
Divisions MTM Television Distribution
MTM International
MTM Home Video

MTM Enterprises (later known as MTM Enterprises, Inc.) was an American independent production company established in 1969 by Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker to produce The Mary Tyler Moore Show for CBS. The name for the production company was drawn from Moore's initials.[1]

MTM produced a number of successful television programs during the 1970s and 1980s. Its recognizable logo, shown briefly at the end of their programs, was a meowing Mimsie the Cat in a pose reminiscent of the MGM Lion. There have been many different variants of this logo.

All of MTM's shows are now owned by 21st Century Fox under 20th Century Fox Television.

History[edit]

For many years MTM, with CBS, co-owned the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California, where a majority of their programs were filmed and videotaped. In turn, most of MTM's series aired on CBS.

MTM Enterprises acquired Jim Victory Television in 1986. taking the MTM library with it. Victory was later reincorporated as MTM Television Distribution, which in turn was folded into 20th Television after News Corporation bought MTM.

Tinker oversaw MTM's operation until leaving the company in 1981 and becoming chairman of NBC. Lawyers backing NBC's then-owner RCA convinced Tinker to sell his remaining shares of MTM. Tinker later regretted leaving MTM, believing that the company started to decline without him.[2]

After being an independent production company for many years, MTM was sold in 1988 to ITV franchise holder TVS Entertainment for $320 million.[2] After the Independent Television Commission (which licensed and regulated commercial television services in the United Kingdom (except S4C in Wales) between 1 January 1991 and 28 December 2003), awarded the licence to Meridian, in which TVS lost the license, TVS was in turn acquired by Pat Robertson's International Family Entertainment in late 1992.[3] IFE along with MTM was sold to Fox Family Worldwide in 1997. MTM ceased operations in 1998 and its library assets were folded into 20th Century Fox Television.

MTM Enterprises also included a record label, MTM Records - distributed by Capitol Records - which was in existence from 1984 to 1988.[4][5][6][7][8]

Programs[edit]

MTM's productions included:

In addition to the above shows, MTM has distributed programs such as:

Films[edit]

CBS connection[edit]

MTM programs appeared almost exclusively on CBS until the early 1980s, when Grant Tinker assumed the additional role of president of NBC. Soon, NBC picked up a number of MTM shows, and Tinker stepped down as head of MTM to avoid a conflict of interest. His intention was to leave NBC after 5 years (in 1986) and return to MTM, taking over the reins from interim MTM president Arthur Price. However, Price fired many of the key players in the company's ranks, and by 1986 they had few shows left on the schedules (Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere and Remington Steele were all nearing the ends of their runs, leaving Newhart as the sole entrant on the schedule). There was also a record label in the 1980s featuring the logo on the label. No major mainstream artists recorded for this label; however, Judy Rodman and country girl group, The Girls Next Door, did have a few minor hits on the country charts in the mid-1980s.

Mimsie the Cat[edit]

Mimsie the Cat (1968-1988) was Moore's adorable live-action tabby cat seen in the MTM Enterprises logo, in an apparent spoof of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's famed lion mascot, Leo.

In the standard version of the logo, as first used on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mimsie appears in a crouched position, looks up at the camera, and meows once. Mimsie would not meow for the camera crew, so they eventually used footage of her yawning, run in reverse, with the sound effect added. By the 1980s, there were many different variants of the logo, with Mimsie often appearing in different painted "costumes" corresponding to the style and theme of the particular programs. For the detective series Remington Steele, a Sherlock Holmes-esque stalking cap and pipe (that fell out of Mimsie's mouth when she meowed) were added; Bay City Blues had an animated version of Mimsie wearing a baseball hat and baseball glove and catching a baseball; Lou Grant, Paris, and Just Between Friends showed a still image of Mimsie's footage; The White Shadow featured a different black-and-white cat bouncing an orange basketball; Hill Street Blues painted a police uniform hat onto Mimsie's head; St. Elsewhere used a surgical mask and scrubs; The Texas Wheelers had a full-screen black-and white kitten looking around and meowing and (for the final episode) had an animated version of the kitten staggering from behind a wagon wheel and dropping dead; Graham Kerr painted a chef's hat onto Mimsie's head; Xuxa had Mimsie say "Chao!"; A Little Sex featured an animated gray cat joining an animated version of Mimsie after she meowed; in contrast, Newhart kept the original, unadorned footage, but replaced (except for the series pilot) the meowing sound effect with Bob Newhart's voice-over of "meow" in his trademark deadpan style, and in the series finale is saying "QUIET!", uttered by Darryl & Darryl (their first and only word). The Duck Factory had (right before the logo) had an off-screen voice shout, "Where's the Cat?", and then used the original footage, replacing Mimsie's meow with a "Quack!". On The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, "Today I am a Ma'am", Mimsie did a higher-pitched meow, and on the episode "Put on a Happy Face", Miss Moore herself was shown stating the Looney Tunes end line, "That's All Folks!". In the series finale of St. Elsewhere, Mimsie is shown unconscious and dying on-screen, hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor and medical equipment; as the credits roll the heart monitor beeps and then flatlines. The episode was dedicated to Mimsie's memory, as she died the same year the finale aired in 1988. An extended version of The White Shadow variant can be shown on rare prints of the pilot, featuring the logo animating and the cat watching the ball fall off-screen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MOORE, MARY TYLER - The Museum of Broadcast Communications". Museum.tv. 1995-11-26. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  2. ^ a b Carter, Bill. "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Tinker Looks Beyond 'USA Today on TV'". The New York Times (November 27, 1989)
  3. ^ COMPANY NEWS; Pat Robertson Buys Parent Of MTM for $68.5 Million. The New York Times (September 23, 1992).
  4. ^ Kingsbury, Paul (2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 359. ISBN 9780195176087. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  5. ^ [1]
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