After the Upfront: CMT Brings Country to Times Square
Cassadee Pope, lemonade were hits, Dominus says
By K.C. Neel -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/18/2013 5:52:16 PM
Cops Reloaded is a rebooted version of Fox's Cops that will premiere March 25. The untitled Pope project will star Voice winner Cassadee Pope and offer a behind-the-scenes look into her career. The Dirty South will be styled after sister network MTV's Jersey Shore and will premiere in the fall. Hillbillies for Hire will premiere in the summer and center on the owners of "Hillbillies for Hire," a custom prank shop in Polk County, Fla. Advertisers got glimpses of CMT's new slate as well as those previously announced including new series Dog and Beth: On the Hunt, Guntucky and Bounty Hunters.
Broadcasting & Cable's K.C. Neel caught up with Viacom's Ellen Dominus, senior VP, entertainment sales, to get a bird's eye view on how CMT's third upfront presentation was received. She oversees CMT, Comedy Central, Spike and TV Land's sales efforts. She's well versed in these dog-and-pony shows, having served as national broadcast buyer for BBDO before joining Viacom two decades ago. Below is an edited version of the electronic interview:
What message were you trying to get across at the event?
Last year, CMT delivered on our promise to launch new, broad-appeal series that would become definitive hits for the channel. We laid the groundwork for 2013 to be a breakout year, and will continue to deliver bolder, louder series like My Big Redneck Vacation and Swamp Pawn, along with must-see music specials CMT Crossroads and CMT Music Awards.
What's the most important thing that people don't know about your network?
CMT is on a roll. In 2012, we launched three of our top four original series in network history, including our highest-rated series ever, My Big Redneck Vacation. The numbers of originals on-air increased 43% last year and there are more shows in development than ever before. We just announced a News & Docs division, which will give us new opportunities to cover topical stories through the CMT filter. It's a busy and exciting time for us.
What goals did you set for the network with this presentation? Did it achieve what you wanted it to achieve?
It's always our goal to bring a little bit of Nashville to Madison Avenue to ensure that our city friends feel the power of country -- both the music and the lifestyle. Between the reaction we got to our content and Sheryl Crow's performance, I'd say we hit it out of the park!
What questions did you get from buyers?
How do I get my clients first crack at the Cassadee Pope project? And how do we get them involved in your new Documentary properties?
What kind of follow-up will you have with buyers?
We're already having in-depth meetings with our clients, bringing their brands even more meaningful ways to partner with CMT.
Was there more party than presentation, or vice versa? Would you do it that way again?
We kept the event tight to two hours which included the reception, and received great feedback from our guests about that.
Did you get to sample the food?
I did -- and enjoyed some of the best lemonade I've had in years!
What will you do again next year and what will you change up?
We're expecting to see big growth for CMT this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if that helped fuel a bigger event next year!
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