CMT has announced its slate of original programming for 2016, including a new annual music event titled Concert of the Summer, as well as a second season order for I Love Kellie Pickler. In addition, the network is moving its annual CMT Artists of the Year event to October.
CMT also revealed the first round of casting for Million Dollar Quartet (working title), as well as the premiere dates for Still The King, The Dude Perfect Show and NASCAR: The Rise of American Speed at the network’s annual Upfront presentation held Thursday (March 3) at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.
“Much like our hometown of Nashville, CMT embraces both tradition and change,” said Brian Philips, President of CMT. “This year, we are doubling our original programming to celebrate the bigger and broader country fan base. We’re crafting stories and characters that are multifaceted and unexpected.”
Coming this November, Million Dollar Quartet, produced by Thinkfactory Media’s Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) and directed by Oscar nominee Roland Joffé, is a coming-of-age story set in the unraveling world of 1950s Memphis where music and race collide, ultimately creating pop music’s first superstars.
After a nationwide casting call held at Elvis Presley’s high school alma mater in Memphis, CMT has cast Drake Milligan as young Elvis Presley, Kevin Fonteyne as Johnny Cash, and twins Christian Lees and Jonah Lees as cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, respectively. Additional cast members will be announced at a later date. During the Upfront event, Fonteyne and Milligan performed together for the first time as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
The comedy Still The King debuts Sunday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars Billy Ray Cyrus, Joey Lauren Adams, Madison Iseman, Lacey Chabert, Leslie David Baker, Kevin Farley, Travis Nicholson and Jon Sewell. Still The King follows Vernon (Cyrus), a scandal-ridden, washed-up, one-hit-wonder who crashes back into the life of his ex and discovers he had a daughter he knew nothing about.
The network’s signature event, the 2016 CMT Music Awards, premieres Wednesday, June 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. This summer, CMT also teams up with one of country’s biggest stars to redefine the concert-going experience; giving fans an all access pass and an unforgettable look at one of the year’s most sought-after tickets with the inaugural music event, Concert of the Summer. In addition, CMT Artists of the Year premieres live on Wednesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
As previously announced, CMT will debut four new episodes of CMT Crossroads. Episodes feature Jason Derulo and Luke Bryan (summer), Nick Jonas and Thomas Rhett (summer), Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles (March 24 at 11 p.m. ET/PT), and Rob Thomas and Charles Kelley (late spring).
Having notched three critically acclaimed documentaries watched by more than 25 million viewers, CMT’s slate this year includes the three-night event NASCAR: The Rise of American Speed (May 8, 15, 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT) as well as original documentaries The Bandit in August and Chicken People in November.
The Dude Perfect Show, whose trailer was released today to their 25 million fans, kicks off Thursday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Known for their wildly popular trick shot and stunt videos, the series, from producer Rob Dyrdek (MTV’s Ridiculousness and Fantasy Factory), follows the five viral sensations as they open the doors to their mancave in Dallas, Texas, to showcase exactly how they cook up their next crazy idea. The debut season will feature appearances from Luke Bryan, Chris Paul, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Aaron Rogers and more.
On the heels of scoring CMT’s highest-rated series premiere since 2012 and highest with women since 2008, I Love Kellie Pickler from executive producer Ryan Seacrest returns for a second season in August, along with the 11th season of the fan-favorite Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, which is coming off its highest-rated season to date.
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