'Still the King'

CMT Shares Summer Plans

‘To Joey, With Love,’ about Joey and Rory Feek, debuts June 21

CMT shed light on its busy summer, which includes the CMT Music Awards June 7, CMT Instant Jam June 16, the premiere of CMT Crossroads June 23 and the return of comedy Still the King July 11.

The cable net has also set June 1 for the midseason premiere of hit drama Nashville.

“We have a big summer slate,” said Jayson Dinsmore, executive VP of development at CMT.

Nashville’s Charles Esten will host the CMT Music Awards. The premiere of CMT Crossroads, the series’ first outdoor show ever, sees Earth, Wind & Fire jam with country acts such as Lady Antebellum.

CMT will air To Joey, With Love Wednesday, June 21. The film is about the country duo Joey and Rory Feek and includes the birth of their daughter, Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, and Joey’s struggles with cancer. “It’s a lovely film that will move you to tears,” said Dinsmore.

Still the King, starring Billy Ray Cyrus as Vernon, will feature more of an ensemble approach this season, says Dinsmore. Joey Lauren Adams plays the mother of Vernon’s child, and Madison Iseman plays his daughter. “All the characters are popping,” Dinsmore said. “We’re giving the fans what they want.”

Unscripted Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team and I Love Kellie Pickler both premiere Thursday, Aug. 3. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders is back for season 12. There will be 13 episodes this year, after last season featured eight. Both series will enjoy Nashville as a lead in for the first few weeks.

CMT is making the most of Nashville, the highest-rated and most-watched series in its history. Dinsmore likes to point out how the show, which formerly was on ABC, routinely beats 31 broadcast series in the ratings race and has brought new advertisers, such as Apple and Coca Cola, to CMT. The network is working hard to make the most of the many Nashville fans who are new to CMT. “There’s a strategy in place to take advantage of the new viewers,” said Dinsmore.

A “creative resurgence” for Nashville, he adds, has made the show even more popular among the “Nashies” who adore it.