CMT had a lot of announcements today, the network finally set premiere dates for its 2017 scripted series. One of the network’s biggest premieres, the fifth season of “Nashville,” will join “Million Dollar Quartet” (working title) and the return of “Still The King”. CMT also confirmed that it has ordered a new scripted pilot, which is working under the TITLE“His Wives & Daughters.”
“After a promising start with ‘Still The King,’ we now have a clear path in attracting new audiences with our scripted programming,” said Jayson Dinsmore, CMT’s head of development. “Beginning with ‘Nashville’ in January, each series will help launch the next; creating an overlay to cycle viewers through our originals year round.”
“Nashville” will return to television with a fifth season on CMT, with Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (the creators of “Thirtysomething”) at the helm, returning with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, January 5 at 9pm ET/PT. Fans will still get to watch the series on Hulu, which will be available to stream the day after they air on CMT.
According to the network, the fourth season of “Nashville” attracted more than 8 million weekly viewers across all platforms and ranks as one of television’s most DVR’d series. The series is particularly strong with women 18-34. Out of more than 180 broadcast dramas since Fall 2012, “Nashville” ranks in the top 20. Nashville is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz, Ed Zwick, Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri. Jayson Dinsmore and Morgan Selzer executive produce for CMT.
“Million Dollar Quartet” (working title) will premiere in March, the series is set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement. The eight part limited-run series tells the untold true story of early rock ‘n’ roll. Guided by Sam Phillips, young musicians like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis combined the styles of country with the 1950s R&B sound created by artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Ike Turner.
The series chronicles these young artists’ rise to fame in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest. The all-star cast includes Chad Michael Murray (Sun Records founder Sam Phillips), Billy Gardell (Presley and Arnold’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker), Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis), Jonah Lees (Jimmy Swaggart), Trevor Donovan (Eddy Arnold), Keir O’Donnell (Dewey Phillips), Jennifer Holland (Sam’s wife Becky Phillips) and Margaret Anne Florence (Sam’s assistant Marion Keisker).
“Million Dollar Quartet” is produced by Thinkfactory Media with Leslie Greif (“Hatfields & McCoys”) as executive producer, Gil Grant (“24” and “NCIS: Los Angeles”) as executive producer and showrunner, Barry Berg as co-executive producer and Herb Nanas and Colin Escott as producers. Oscar nominee Roland Joffé directs, with Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton as executive producers for CMT.
“Still The King” starring Billy Ray Cyrus and Joey Lauren Adams will return for a 13 episode second season in spring. The network stated that the series is currently reaching more than 2 million viewers each week. The comedy centers on Vernon Brown (Cyrus), AKA “Burnin’ Vernon,” a scandal-ridden washed up one-hit wonder who is kicked out of country music, only to emerge 20 years later as the second best Elvis impersonator where he re-connects with a former one-night-stand (Adams), only to discover he has a 15-year-old daughter he’s never met (Madison Iseman). “Still The King” is produced by HIDEOUT PICTURES with Billy Ray Cyrus serving as executive producer and writer. Shannon Houchins, Potsy Ponciroli and Travis Nicholson also executive produce. Julia Silverton and Jayson Dinsmore executive produce for CMT.
As for the new pilot, CMT is moving forward with “His Wives & Daughters.” The soapy, comedic series centers on the eclectic and cunning wives and daughters of larger-than-life country music legend (and infamous womanizer) Eddie Ray Banks. After his estranged family is brought together unexpectedly, tempers flare and old rivalries resurface setting the stage for startling secrets to emerge as an unforgettable mystery begins to unfold. Casting is underway now with production slated to begin in the fall. The pilot is created and produced by Dina Chapman and Steve Sessions, with Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton as executive producers for CMT.
These shows will join CMT’s popular list of scripted series, including “I Love Kellie Pickler” and “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team”, which will being on Thursday, August 25 at 9pm ET/PT, Directors Guild Award winner “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge,” original documentaries and music events (including “CMT Music Awards,” “CMT Artists of the Year,” and the forthcoming “CMT Concert of the Summer.