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|Industry||Television and Film production|
|Founders||Mary Tyler Moore|
|Defunct||May 19, 1998|
|Fate||Merged with 20th Television|
TVS Entertainment (1988-1993)
International Family Entertainment (1993-1996)
News Corporation (1996-1998)
|Divisions||MTM Television Distribution|
MTM Home Video
MTM Enterprises (alternatively known as MTM Productions) 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.
MTM produced a number of successful television programs during the 1970s and 1980s. The company's mascot was an orange Tabby cat named Mimsie who appeared in their logo (who was borrowed from a local shelter and then owned by one of the MTM staff, not by Moore and Tinker, who named the cat), inside a circle surrounded by gold ribbons, parodying how Leo the Lion is presented in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo.
For many years, MTM and CBS co-owned the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California, where a majority of their programs were filmed and videotaped. Most of MTM's programs aired on CBS. In 1971, co-founder Grant Tinker was forced to quit 20th Century-Fox Television due to conflicts with how to run MTM, in order to maintain a full-time job at the company. In 1976, MTM teamed up with Metromedia Producers Corporation to start a variety show, a first for first-run syndication.
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. Moore and Arthur Price, her business manager and company vice president, bought Tinker's shares; Price subsequently was elevated to president. Tinker later regretted leaving MTM, believing that the company started to decline without him.
After TVS lost its franchise to broadcast on the ITV network to Meridian Broadcasting, a number of American companies (and to a lesser extent, Meridian) were interested in acquiring MTM, with Pat Robertson's International Family Entertainment making the first offer. A small number of shareholders, including Julian Tregar, rejected the offer from IFE. In November, TCW Capital made a bid, but withdrew it a few weeks later after reviewing the accounts of TVS. IFE increased its offer to £45.3M, but continued to be opposed by Julian Tregar, who blocked the deal on technical grounds, alleging that the offer was too low. IFE finally increased the offer to appease the remaining shareholders, and on January 23, 1993, their offer of £56.5M was finally accepted. The deal went into effect on February 1, 1993 (the month after Meridian began its first broadcast).
In 1995, Michael Ogiens, formerly running CBS, as well as his production company Ogiens/Kane Company, joined MTM to serve as president of the company in hopes that MTM would be restored to its independent production glory. The following year, Josh Kane, fellow partner of the Ogiens/Kane Company joined MTM as vice president for the East Coast offices. In 1997, MTM hit layoffs at the syndication unit after the cancellation of the show The Cape.
In 1997, International Family Entertainment was sold to News Corporation, and folded into its subsidiary Fox Kids Worldwide, eventually renamed to Fox Family Worldwide (a joint venture between Fox and Saban Entertainment). MTM's library assets however, were transferred over to 20th Television who retained them, even after Fox Family Worldwide was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2001. Good News and The Pretender were the last surviving shows to be produced by MTM. Good News was cancelled in 1998 (when MTM ceased operations), but The Pretender continued its run until 2000, as 20th Television inherited the show in 1997 (when News Corporation purchased MTM). MTM's library became property of Disney following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)
- The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
- Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (1974–1975)
- The Texas Wheelers (1974–1975)
- Rhoda (1974–1978)
- The Bob Crane Show (1975)
- Doc (1975–1976)
- The Lorenzo & Henrietta Music Show (1976)
- Three for the Road (1975)
- Phyllis (1975–1977)
- The Tony Randall Show (1976–1978)
- Lou Grant (1977–1982)
- The Betty White Show (1977–1978)
- We've Got Each Other (1977–1978)
- The White Shadow (1978–1981)
- WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)
- Mary (1978)
- The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979)
- The Last Resort (1979–1980)
- Paris (1979–1980)
- Carlton Your Doorman (1980)
- Hill Street Blues (1981–1987)
- Remington Steele (1982–1987)
- St. Elsewhere (1982–1988)
- Newhart (1982–1990)
- Bay City Blues (1983)
- The Duck Factory (1984)
- Mary (1985–1986)
- Fresno (1986)
- The Popcorn Kid (1987)
- Beverly Hills Buntz (1987–1988)
- Eisenhower and Lutz (1987–1988)
- Annie McGuire (1988)
- Tattingers (1988–1989)
- FM (1989–1990)
- Rescue 911 (1989–1996) (U.S. distribution only, produced by CBS Entertainment Productions)
in association with Arnold Shapiro Productions
- America's Funniest Home Videos (distribution for pre-2001 episodes only; currently distributed by sister company Disney–ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution)
- The Steve Allen Show (distribution only)[N 1]
- City (1990) (co-production with CBS Entertainment Productions)[N 1]
- Capital News (1990)
- The Trials of Rosie O'Neill (1990–1992)
- Evening Shade (1990–1994) (co-production with CBS Entertainment Productions, Bloodworth-Thomason Mozark Productions, and Burt Reynolds Productions) (distributed outside of U.S. television by CBS Studios International)
- You Take the Kids (1990–1991) (co-production with CBS Entertainment Productions and Paul Haggis Productions)[N 1]
- The New WKRP in Cincinnati (1991–1993)
- Graham Kerr's Kitchen (1992–1995) (distribution only)
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993–1998) (U.S. TV distribution only; produced by CBS Productions)
co-production with The Sullivan Company
- Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993–1996) (co–production with the Nine Network Australia)
- Xuxa (1993) (co-production with Lynch Entertainment)
- Christy (1994–1995) (co-production with The Rosenzweig Company)
- Boogies Diner (1994–1995)[N 1] (Co-production with Franklin/Waterman and King Street Entertainment)
- The Pretender (1996–2000) (season 1 only; in association with NBC Studios) (distributed outside the U.S. by NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
- Family Challenge (1995–1997) (co-produced by Woody Fraser Enterprises and Maple Palm Productions
- Sparks (1996–1998) (co-production with The Weinberger Company)
- Bailey Kipper's P.O.V. (1996–1997) (co-production with Kipper Productions and Victoria Productions)
- The Cape (1996-1997) (co-production with Zaloom-Mayfield Productions)
- Shopping Spree (1996–1998) (co-production with Jay Wolpert Enterprises)
- Wait 'til You Have Kids (1996–1997) (co-production with Jay Wolpert Enterprises)
- It Takes Two (1997) (co-production with Mark Phillips Philms & Telephision)
- Good News (1997–1998) (co-production with The Weinberger Company)
- No longer distributed by 20th Television
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).
Mimsie the Cat
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 (the meow sound is done by Lorenzo Music).
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.
- 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", Moore herself was shown stating the Looney Tunes end line, "That's All Folks!"
- 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; an extended version of The White Shadow variant can be seen on rare prints of the pilot, featuring the logo animating and the cat watching the ball fall off-screen
- Hill Street Blues put a police uniform hat onto Mimsie's head
- St. Elsewhere showed her in a surgical mask and scrubs
- Graham Kerr put a chef's hat onto Mimsie's head
- 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 collapsing
- For Carlton Your Doorman the logo is drawn animation-like and Carlton's cat Ringo is seen and says to him to meow but doesn't meow, Carlton mutters "Damn cat..."
- Xuxa had Mimsie say "Tchau!" (which means "goodbye" in Portuguese)
- A Little Sex featured an animated gray cat joining an animated version of Mimsie after she meowed before the two cats purred by rubbing their faces at each other
- 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) an off-screen voice shout, "Where's the Cat?", and then used the original footage, replacing Mimsie's meow with a "Quack!"
- In the series finale of St. Elsewhere, Mimsie is shown unconscious and dying on-screen, connected to an IV, a heart monitor and medical equipment; as the credits roll the heart monitor beeps and then as the credits end the heart monitor flatlines marking the end of St. Elsewhere and Mimsie's death. Coincidentally, Mimsie died shortly after the airing of this episode at the age of 20. Syndicated copies of this episode replace this variant with the normal credits
In 2013, an episode of Hot in Cleveland titled "Love is All Around", which starred Betty White and featured Georgia Engel, did an MTM reunion with Moore, Valerie Harper, and Cloris Leachman. At the end of the episode the camera pans to a cat in the window, presumably Mimsie, giving her final meow in an homage to the company's logo.
- "MOORE, MARY TYLER - The Museum of Broadcast Communications". Museum.tv. 1995-11-26. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
- "Tinker severs ties with Fox" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1971-01-18. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- "Programming Briefs" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1976-06-14. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- Schwartz, Tony (July 1, 1981). "Silverman Quits At NBC; Tinker to Succeed Him". The New York Times.
- Carter, Bill (November 27, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Tinker Looks Beyond 'USA Today on TV'". The New York Times.
- "COMPANY NEWS; Pat Robertson Buys Parent Of MTM for $68.5 Million". The New York Times. (September 23, 1992).
- Second potential bidder for TVS. The Times. (London). November 4, 1992.
- Evangelist may be sole runner for TVS. Martin Waller. The Times. November 26, 1992.
- TVS bid opposed. The Times. December 11, 1992.
- Evangelist to lift TVS offer. The Times. January 9, 1993.
- TVS dissidents try for a better offer. Martin Waller, The Times. (London). Wednesday, 6 January 1993
- Robertson wins TVS. The Times. January 23, 1993.
- "Ogiens promises to make over MTM" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1995-12-04. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
- "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1996-08-05. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
- Hontz, Jenny (March 14, 1997). "Pinkslips for trio of MTM Worldwide exex". Variety. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- Peers, Martin; Richmond, Ray; Levin, Gary (June 12, 1997). "Family affair for Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (July 17, 1997). "News Corp. Taps Fox Kids' Exec". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- "NBC To Reboot 'Remington Steele' As Comedy With Ruben Fleischer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Kingsbury, Paul (2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-1951-7608-7. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Weingarten, Paul. "The Kitten That Roared". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2021-02-25.