CMT Releases First Nashville Trailer; Date of Sneak Peak

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

We teased Nashville back in September, when CMT released its first teaser of season five and announced a Jan. 5 debut date. The net has not only come back with the first official trailer for the series, but a gift for anxious fans: the first hour of the two-hour season premiere will air on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 9 p.m.

You can get more details on the intrigue and the excitement to expect here. But, really, you should be following @NashvilleCMT on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you get the latest updates as soon as they’re released.

Who Needs Turkeys? CMT to Serve Up Chicken-Themed Treat for Thanksgiving Eve

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Have you ever heard a chicken being favorably compared to Paris Hilton?

Or being described as a warrior?

Or being analyzed for its behavior in its social cliques? Its cliques of, you know, other chickens?

Well, you will. And you will because you will watch CMT’s documentary Chicken People, a deeply engaging and human exploration of the surprisingly enormous world of prize chicken breeders. And when it’s all over, you will understand why the Ohio National Poultry Show is considered the Westminster of Chickens, and why the subjects of this film care so deeply about the competition that they dedicate enormous portions of their lives to cultivating the perfect fowl.

Critical reception has been strong since Chicken People, directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes, debuted at SXSW earlier this year before going on to screen at nearly a dozen other festivals, including Nashville, Seattle and Atlantic. Reviewers have responded favorably to the documentary’s success in distilling meaning from the sprawling, intricate and exacting world of competitive chicken breeding.

“As enthusiastic as [the other main characters] are, however, their narratives are overshadowed by the poignant story of Shari McCollough, a homemaker and mother of five (children, not chickens) from Crawford, Ind., who credits poultry breeding and competition with helping her overcome depression and alcoholism,” writes Variety’s Joe Leydon. “When she says, late in the documentary, ‘Chickens make me brave — they make me face fears head-on in life,’ her matter-of-fact sincerity carries an unexpectedly potent emotional wallop. Just as important, it encourages a viewer to consider just how common her attitude is among the other breeders.”

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CMT Celebrates Powerful New Sounds Coming from the Next Women of Country

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Since 2013, CMT has shown an annual spotlight on the remarkable breakthrough female talent on the country music scene with its Next Women of Country roster. Last week, the net released its 2016 list, and the women on it are awesome.

From the female trios of Runaway Jane and Post Monroe to a broad list of signed and unsigned solo artists, CMT is providing a platform through its site for fans to check out the creativity, energy and emotive lyrical power pouring out of this group.

While women remain underrepresented in country music as a whole, efforts like this ongoing push by CMT hope to change that by constantly showcasing the outsized talents of this new generation. The net will complement their site with weekly exclusive Next Women of Country LIVE performances on

“We’re so thrilled to introduce this incredibly talented and diverse mix of female artists to the Next Women franchise,” said CMT Senior Vice President of Music Strategy and Talent Leslie Fram. “With the full support of the industry behind us, we continue to see this initiative make a real difference in propelling female artists into the spotlight.”

To see just how good this group is, check out the video previews of each of the 10 artists or groups of artists on the list below. You can follow #CMTNextWomen on Twitter for continual Next Women of Country Updates.


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Nashville Heads Toward CMT – Check Out a Season Five Preview

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

CMT continued its charge into original programming by picking up Nashville earlier this year, and we finally have a little preview  of what we’ll see when the show returns in January. The nashie_cmt team released this promo video on Instagram recently:

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The 5,000 Pound CMT #InternVolunteerDay

What happens when you combine a Saturday afternoon, the largest food bank in Tennessee, and CMT’s summer 2016 interns? Over 5,000 pounds of food collected and sorted to feed the hungry throughout the state.

With seven participants representing CMT, we joined forces with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to help end the fight against hunger in America. Second Harvest is an organization that works with more than 450 partner agencies to ensure that men, women and children throughout the state have access to food and basic personal care needs.

CMT Intern Volunteer Day

From left to right: Chelsea Gant (Social Media intern), Elaheh Ziglari (Business & Legal Affairs intern), Betsy Howard (Human Resources intern), Jennifer Teeter (Creative Services: On-Air Graphics intern), and Erica Greskoviak (Creative Services: Short-Form Programming intern)

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Viacom Employee Lottery Winner, Shannon Griffith, Shares Her CMT Music Awards Experience

The 2016 CMT Music Awards was the most watched show in the event’s history, with nearly 4 million viewers tuning in across three networks on Wednesday, June 8. Paramount employee Shannon Griffith, however, wasn’t one of those viewers—she lived the event. As the winner of Viacom’s CMT Awards Employee Lottery, she got to watch country music’s party of the year from the VIP balcony in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

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Relive the Most Thrilling Moments From the 2016 CMT Awards

From its mod, jewel-toned stage to performances featuring a fusion of country legends, rock, and pop stars, the 2016 CMT Awards energized a classic genre with radical twists. The night celebrated country music’s rich history while showcasing its eclectic, contemporary fan base.

NFL Star J.J. Watts and TV personality Erin Andrews hosted the event, which trended on Twitter with the hashtag #CMTAwards for several hours on Wednesday, June 8.

Here are some highlights from CMT’s wildest party of the year.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Erin Andrews and J.J. Watt host the 2016 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Erin Andrews and J.J. Watt host the CMT Awards.

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Here’s Why Country Singer Courtney Cole Says Education is Empowering

Courtney Cole first debuted on the country-pop scene in 2011 as a contestant on CMT’s Next Superstar. After the last episode aired, she inked a deal as a songwriter. She’s since put out two EPs, toured with Miranda Lambert, and attracted thousands of fans with feisty tracks like “Ladylike”, and soulful ballads like “Fall Like Rain.” Critics have compared her to a younger Taylor Swift.

But if Cole hadn’t gone to Belmont University, she says she’d probably be working an odd job in her rural hometown of Mandeville, Louisiana. Education is an integral part of her burgeoning career. That’s why she is CMT Empowering Education’s spokesperson for 2016.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 02: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Singer songwriter Courtney Cole poses for a portrait at the 4th ACM Party For A Cause Festival on April 2, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for ACM)

Singer-songwriter Courtney Cole is CMT Empowering Education spokesperson for 2016.

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Remembering Merle Haggard: CMT Salutes the Country Music Legend

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The world lost a good one earlier this week, when country music legend Merle Haggard passed away on his 79th birthday. With 71 top 10 country hits, two autobiographies, a spate of movie appearances, and one single – 1968’s Today I Started Loving You Again – that has been covered by more than 400 artists, he left behind a decades-long legacy whose impact on music and culture would be hard to overstate.

CMT took notice. The day news of Haggard’s passing at his California ranch broke, the network aired CMT Remembers Merle Haggard, a special featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews, along with tributes from some of the biggest names in country music, including Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line, Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd, Dwight Yoakam, Brooks & Dunn and Bobby Bare.
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