The MTV Movie & TV Awards continue to forge a path of diversity, inclusion and all-around awesomeness. Last year, the network tentpole revamped its award parameters, doing away with gendered categories and doling out buckets of golden popcorn to those who helped produce the best of film, television and digital media.
Haddish is pumped, to say the least. The star shared a video with her 1.8 million Instagram followers to announce the news. “It’s gonna be off the chain,” said Haddish. “Because you know why? I’m hosting! And you know what that means ― it’s gonna be hilarious.”
On Thursday, Jan. 4, CMT’s beloved country soap Nashville returned for its sixth and final season. 1.6 million viewers joined them, a testament to the loyal “Nashie” fan base hooked by season five’s plot twists—including the death of a major character (Connie Britton’s Rayna Jaymes), police misconduct and racial profiling, song stealing and scheming, dramatic hookups and breakups…accompanied by melodic country harmonies, of course.
Nashville started 2018 with the highest ratings since its midseason five premiere. And according to Nielsen, Nashville’s debut was the night’s top social entertainment cable program—with #NashvilleCMT trending nationally on Twitter.
“The final season is truly the culmination of the incredible journey of each of these beloved characters,” said Keith Cox, president of development for Paramount, CMT and TV Land. “We want to give the fans, who fought so passionately to bring the show to CMT, a spectacular ending and great payoff.”
Watch a teaser for the next episode:
“The continued success of ‘Nashville’ remains a critical and defining part of our 2018 plan and a vital building block towards a strong future,” said Frank Tanki, general manager of CMT and TV Land. “Once again, the team has pushed themselves on all fronts and it’s absolutely amazing to see all these moving parts come together so smartly and loudly.”
The strong tune-in for the premiere follows a record-breaking 2017, in which CMT scored 53 consecutive weeks of ratings growth, underscoring the fact that Nashville is just one part of a diverse CMT programming roster that encompasses a bit of everything—from unscripted dramas to innovative digital content.
Music City, for example, is a docu-series created by famed executive producer Adam DiVello, who also helmed iconic MTV reality dramas Laguna Beach and The Hills.
Watch a teaser for Music City:
Music City is filmed in Nashville, with a cast of young, up-and-coming musicians struggling to make it in a cutthroat industry—much like The Hills, which gave viewers an inside look at fledgling fashionstas Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag as they tried to succeed in Hollywood.
Watch a throwback clip of The Hills:
This sort of unscripted docu-series has broad appeal: I was a rabid fan of The Hills, even though I didn’t share career aspirations as future fashion mogul Conrad (I tuned in for the personality conflicts, delectable drama and luxurious landscape), and I’ll probably watch Music City, even though I’m not a country music fan. It’s enticing to watch young professionals engage in a heightened state of reality, vying for their dream career (especially now that I’m around the same age as the cast members).
And the network is meeting fans on all platforms – CMT’s 2018 slate includes three new short-form digital series, exclusive for YouTube: How To Wear, Street Art Stories, and The Downtown Farmer.
There’s plenty more to come. After a raucous season that embedded itself deeply enough into the national conversation to earn the honor of a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit, MTV announced that Floribama Shorewould return for 20 episodes starting this summer. The net also dropped another Family Vacation promo, this time asking viewers to help decide where the f*&% the OG cast will go by using the hashtag #JSFamilyVacation.
To understand the show’s popularity, it helps to examine its layers.
Watching an episode of Floribama Shore is akin to hopping into a time portal, transporting you to a bygone era of hot pin Polo T-shirts with the collar popped and “going-out tops” (aka the early aughts) that is somehow fused with 1950s sensibility.
It’s a world where a 23-year-old divorcée is fraught with anxiety over potential spinsterhood, and a gorgeous 24-year-old woman frets over aging. The male contestants at once act hyper-macho and are quintessential Southern gentleman. Imagine living life on the set of A Streetcar Named Desire, surrounded by the scent of Hollister cologne.
Of course, this group of twentysomethings partied as hard as their predecessors, but they also prayed before dinner and had thoughtful, seemingly unscripted conversations about their lives—one cast member had been homeless before the show, and another was reeling from the end of a 10-year relationship after her boyfriend cheated on her with her cousin. (This was, according to her, an “Alabama thing.”)
These deep conversations about real-life issues are perhaps what won over fans and critics, enough to earn the show a second season. In a Rolling Stone review, writer Kory Grow said Floribama Shore revealed “soul” and lauded MTV for showing “a group of eight red-state denizens, who, despite their personal flaws, did not espouse any outward Trumpism (or for that matter, Hillary hating). They all found common ground with each other easily – praying, discussing their Christianity and talking about their families.”
These poignant musical moments stood out to Billboard critics: Kendrick Lamar’s raw, rapid-fire delivery of DNA and Humble at the VMAs; the moment when Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid sang out for suicide prevention (also at the VMAs); New Edition’s epic reunion performance at the BET Awards (a swaggering fusion of OG members and the cast of BET’s biopic, The New Edition Story), Camila Cabello’s EMA performance of Havana; and Missy Elliot’s old-school rendering of her classic banger She’s a Bitch at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.
Let’s take another look at these phenomenal performances. Here are Billboard’s top Viacom picks:
Kendrick Lamar, “DNA.” / “HUMBLE.” (MTV VMAs)
Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255” (MTV VMAs)
New Edition Medley (BET Awards)
Camila Cabello, “Havana” (MTV Europe Music Awards)
CMT’s hit seriesNashvilletakes the stage for its sixth and final season tonight. The show’s compelling stories, major drama and incredible music have connected with fans everywhere, and tonight kicks off the final verse.
Will Juliette finally face down her demons? Will Deacon find a new love? Will Gunnar, Avery and Will form the ultimate country boy band?
Find out where the road will lead — and catch a behind-the-scenes look at the season’s creation below.
Now, the surging network will add a fourth property to the franchise, as the palm tree- and beach-laced music and party scene blasts up from Miami to join its amped-up cousins.
Earlier today, VH1 pushed out the magnificent 5:49 super-trailer embedded above, introducing fans to the 24-person ensemble cast.
“When ya’ll talk about Miami, ya’ll talk about the sands and the yachts, and you party at those clubs on that side of town, but I’m here to tell you, ya’ll don’t know a mother$%#*ing thing about Miami,” the self-proclaimed “Mayor of the 305” Trick Daddy warns in the lustrous opening montage of boats and skylines and bouncing clubs. “The real 305.”
You know @305MAYOR‘s hit records but you’ll discover a whole new side of the “Miami Mayor” when #LHHMIA premieres MONDAY JANUARY 1 at 9/8c!
Who else inhabits this unvarnished slice of South Florida? Rap mainstay Trina, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta veteran Gunplay, Latina striver Amara La Negra, producer Young Hollywood, and many more. Meet the full cast here.
Combining network transformation and honoring tradition, CMT broke records this year with 53 weeks of consecutive growth. It’s the longest active growth streak in cable (among all ad-supported cable channels).
How did CMT achieve this landmark?
The network remained true to its mission statement, fueling its status as the leading authority on country music and lifestyle by re-branding the network to become more than just a music channel, but an entertainment hub for modern country culture.
CMT re-examined its signature music events and specials with fresh eyes. With the seminal series CMT Crossroads which pairs a country act with a pop artist, the network focused on more diverse and current pairings like Maren Morris and Alicia Keys, Thomas Rhett and Nick Jonas, and Florida Georgia Line and Backstreet Boys, which scored the highest “Crossroads” ratings in 5 years.
Fresh off a pair of Grammy-nominations, Kesha is joined by Old Crow Medicine Show for a newly interrupted version of her smash hit Your Love Is My Drug:
Given the hurricanes and shootings in Las Vegas, the annual CMT Artists of the Year special was evolved from a celebration of the year’s top artists to a night of hope and healing. Fans responded…the critically acclaimed special notched the event’s highest ratings ever. And with the CMT Music Awards, CMT successfully expanded the event from one-night event into a three-day festival for sponsors and fans. The events dominated downtown Nashville with multiple sponsor activations, music performances, and fan experiences…creating the largest footprint in CMT history.
The growth isn’t just limited to television. This year, CMT’s ramped up social strategy bolstered its reach to be “everywhere fans are.” It’s working: in the past year, CMT’s Facebook fans have increased by 3,000 percent.
While the brand continues to expand, its commitment to its fans has never wavered. In the last few months alone, CMT expanded the “Empowering Education” campaign encouraging our fans to pursue higher education and was proudly the first cable network to sign-up for the “Hand in Hand” telethon benefiting hurricane victims.
The last 53 months of growth coincided with subtle yet impactful changes on CMT: introducing more culturally-relevant content to the network, and spreading such content across a range of platforms.
“We discovered that more than ever country fans cannot be put into one box. They connect with smart content which reflects their diverseidentities.”
– Frank Tanki, CMT and TV Land General Manger
Network executives chose this course after careful reflection: What does it mean to be a diehard country music fan in 2017?
It means being socially-conscious.
It means having a diverse taste in music—with Carrie Underwood and Beyoncé on the same Spotify playlist.
It means being open to progressive dialogue and content.
CMT fans are diverse in age, race, ethnicity, class and nationality.
We’re thrilled to report that Viacom’s brands have just been nominated for a total of 16 NAACP Image Awards across BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Spike and VH1. The awards honor outstanding achievements of people of color and those who promote social justice in the arts, and we couldn’t be more proud of our nominees — see the list below. Winners will be announced at a live ceremony on Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan. 15).
Congratulations to everyone involved for their fantastic work on these programs. Check out our nominated shows and specials and the respective award categories below.
Ten-year-old Zoe Terry is the Miami-based CEO of Zoe’s Dolls, a nonprofit organization that collects and donates dolls with darker skin tones to girls of African, Hispanic, Caribbean and African-American descent. Terry founded her company in 2012 at age 5 to give these girls an opportunity to play with dolls that looked like them—something she felt was lacking in her community.
Since then, nearly $20,000 in dolls have been donated to more than 4,000 young girls in the U.S., Haiti and Africa. On Nov. 26, the Nickelodeon HALO Awards honored Terry and three others for their philanthropic efforts.
Nick Cannon and our 2017 HALO Honorees Raegan Junge, Caleb White, Zoe Terry, Andrew Dunn. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
The HALO Awards celebrates young leaders who are changing their communities and the world by “Helping and Leading Others.” Rapper Nick Cannon created the awards show in 2011, and returned this year to host the ceremony.
Nick Cannon and Raegan Junge on stage at the 2017 Nickelodeon HALO Awards (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
The psychedelic animated VR world of “Chocolate,” an experience created for the song of the same name by San Francisco based musician Giraffage. Created by 3D animator Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT.
Viacom’s global headquarters at 1515 Broadway shoots 53 floors out of the endless hustle of Times Square. Even amid all this frenetic energy, though, one part of the building really stood out to me as a Media and Technology Services (MTS) Finance intern: the Experience Room.
Situated amid the MTS teams on the 11th floor, the room hosts an ever-updated showcase of the new and emerging technologies that Viacom is exploring, developing, and strategizing to promote MTV, Nickelodeon and other brands. The room doubles as an incubator for Viacom engineers developing products and a fun, engaging place for other employees to experience them.
The room feels futuristic – it is outfitted with integrated smart assistance and voice-activated lighting. One of the gadgets I found particularly fascinating was a voice-activated smart wall mirror, which provides weather information, displays the time, takes notes, and even compliments you.
A section of the room is a mini-museum, outfitted with a chronologically arranged line of devices ranging from a flip phone to Microsoft’s “Hololens” – a headpiece that projects holographic images.
Viacom engineers rotate into the room to work on new technologies, join an existing project, or develop new ideas using the room’s resources. One rotating engineer is at work on a SpongeBob SquarePants robot. The prototype can move around and interact with kids. The engineer would like to equip it with enough information that it can be used as a source of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education for children.
The engineering team is also working on a smart photo booth that can transform its background, factoring in different color combinations and even the type of clothes people are wearing.
The highlight of my time in this space was playing a pair of Viacom NEXT’s Virtual Reality (VR) games: one where I smashed things to collect points in a ring within a simulated Experience Room; a second where I immersed myself within the first ever VR music album with The Melody of Dust, which had such an incredible level of optimization and features embedded within it that I felt as if I were physically in a different world altogether.
The Experience Room now has open hours where employees experience what the team is working on: Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I hope you’ll visit the 11th floor to enjoy this amazing space and draw inspiration from the way that Viacom is developing its present and shaping its future.