CMT is adding made-for-television movies to its development and programming slate with the creation of the CMT ORIGINAL MOVIES franchise, it was announced today by Mary Beth Cunin, SVP, Programming, CMT. This newly-formed division will roll out television movies for the network focusing primarily on romantic comedies, in addition to music-based films.
The first two movies, to be released later this summer, include “To The Mat,” (working title) starring Ricky Schroder (“24,” “NYPD Blue”) and Laura Bell Bundy (“Legally Blonde: The Musical”, “How I Met Your Mother,” Universal Nashville recording artist); and “Reel Love,” starring Grammy Award-winning country artist and actress LeAnn Rimes. Both films will be produced by Entertainment One Television.
“We’ve had great ratings success programming with acquired theatrical romantic comedies”, said Mary Beth Cunin, Senior VP of Programming Strategy, “so it is only natural for us to create original stories that are tailor made for the CMT audience.”
Written by C. Jay Cox (“Sweet Home Alabama”), “To The Mat,” starring Ricky Schroder and Laura Bell Bundy, 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, these two opposites must find a way to get along and save the family business. Directed by Rob Iscove (“She’s All That”), “To The Mat” is currently in production and is set to premiere in August on CMT.
“Reel Love” stars LeAnn Rimes as a successful, big city girl who returns to her small town roots after a family emergency. Rimes’ character then embarks on a soulful, comedic journey to reconnect with family and friends and find meaningful romance along the way. Written by Sharon Weil Aaron and directed by Brian K. Roberts (“Everyone Loves Raymond”), “Reel Love” is set to begin production in late April and will premiere in September on CMT.
CMT ORIGINAL MOVIES was created in the wake of the success of CMT FILMS, which produced and distributed films from 2005-2010. CMT FILMS was afull-service film studio, that used innovative distribution methods including theatrical and network premieres to distribute the films before premiering them on CMT and releasing them for DVD sales. Films included “Broken Bridges” (Toby Keith, Kelly Preston), “Beer For My Horses” (Toby Keith, Rodney Carrington), and the Emmy-nominated “Dale,” about the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt and “Petty Blue,” a documentary of NASCAR’s royal racing family.
“To The Mat” is an Entertainment One Television production being filmed in British Columbia. John Morayniss, Noreen Halpern, Margaret O’Brien and Ira Pincus are Executive Producers for Entertainment One Television. Lisa Silfen, Robin Palmer, Lewis Bogach and Mary Beth Cunin serve as Executive Producers for CMT. “Reel Love” is also an Entertainment One Television production and is being filmed in Ontario.
CMT, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 91 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.