Country Music Television

Country Music Television
Country Music Television (CMT)
CMT Logo
Launched March 5, 1983
Owned by Viacom (operated by MTV Networks)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan Get country.
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Formerly called CMTV (1983)
Sister channel(s) MTV, VH1, CMT Pure Country, CMT Canada
Website Official Website
DirecTV Channel 327 (SD/HD)
Channel 1327 (VOD)
Dish Network Channel 166 (SD/HD)
Available on most cable systems Check local listings for details

Country Music Television, or CMT, is an American country music-oriented cable television network. Programming includes music videos, taped concerts, movies, biographies of country music stars, game shows, and reality programs. CMT is owned and operated by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom.



Early years: 1983–1991

CMT was launched on March 5, 1983 at 6:19 PM CST,[1] 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 company Blinder and Robinson in a 3-way ownership split.

Glenn D. Daniels was the creator, founder, Program Director and first President of the network, originally called CMTV but always "Country Music Television." (The "V" was dropped in response to a complaint by competitor MTV). CMT beat its chief competitor, The Nashville Network (TNN), on 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

The network's third logo, used in various forms from 1984 until 2004.

In 1991, Opryland USA and its owner Gaylord Entertainment Company acquired CMT in a $30 million deal.[2] The network was sold by a group led by radio station owner Robert Sillerman and record producer James Guercio.[2] Opryland USA and owner Gaylord also owned CMT's major competitor The Nashville Network.

In September 1993, CMT went international, launching 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.[3] Gaylord had planned to emulate the successful model created by E!, by selling large progamming blocks to other European channels, but these plans never occurred.[3]

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.[4] All shows eventually were canceled 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.[5] 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.[6]

CBS/Viacom years: 1997–present

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

In 1997, both CMT and TNN networks were sold to Westinghouse, the owner of the CBS network for a reported $1.5 billion.[7] 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 FSN 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 simply Spike. Viacom also changed the format of CMT, modeling it after sister networks MTV and VH1 to include shows and movies in addition to music videos. Over time, the number of music videos on the network has continued to decrease with the late May 2006 rebranding of digital cable network VH1 Country to CMT Pure Country.

Despite the decrease in music videos, CMT has experienced significant ratings gains since its acquisition by MTV Networks in 1999. As of 2007, the channel is available in more than 83 million homes.[8] As of 2009, the network now reaches 88 million homes.

Current programming

CMT's current programming features country music-oriented shows (i.e. country music videos, taped concerts, etc.), country lifestyle-oriented shows, and old shows and movies that prominently feature country or Southern-rock music. Much like sister channels MTV and VH1, CMT has become a pop-culture channel in the last few years, with added emphasis on specials, countdowns, and reality programs as well as music videos; of the three, CMT currently devotes the most time to music videos, with at least six hours of the daily schedule set aside for them.

See also


  1. ^ Billboard April 9, 1983 and Hendersonville Free Press April 6, 1983 available at
  2. ^ a b "Nashville Net closes CMT acquisition deal". HighBeam. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  3. ^ a b Katz, Richard (1998-02-03). "Gaylord shutters CMT Euro". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  4. ^ "CMT launches new series". BNET. Retrieved 2009-09-03. [dead link]
  5. ^ "U.S. country TV drops Canadian videos". Toronto Star. 1995-01-10. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  6. ^ "Country music TV channels in accord". Toronto Star. 1996-03-08. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  7. ^ "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
  8. ^ Underwood, Ryan (2007-04-15). "If it has a screen, CMT is on it". The Tennessean. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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