11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
CMT Programming Chief Jayson Dinsmore Exits as Part of Viacom Realignment
Viacom is shifting to a centralized development team for Kevin Kay's Global Entertainment Group.
As part of the reorganization, CMT's executive vp development Jayson Dinsmore is exiting the company. His position as head of development and programming will now be absorbed by Viacom rising star Keith Cox, who will add CMT to his portfolio that now includes the upcoming Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) as well as TV Land. Additional staffing changes are excepted, including layoffs.
The news was announced Tuesday via a pair of internal memos from Dinsmore and CMT GM Frank Tanki. Tanki was promoted to GM of CMT in June, taking over for former network president Brian Philips — who was pushed out after 16 years at the cabler. Tanki now serves as GM of both CMT and TV Land.
"Looking to the future, our goal is to build upon this success to position Paramount, CMT and TV Land as the preeminent destinations for adult viewers," Tanki said in his memo to staff. "To succeed, we will need to create a unified voice while also maintaining each brand’s unique personality and attributes. By streamlining these development teams, we’ll be able to explore multi-brand talent development and first-look deals, while creating one focal point for the creative community. We’ll also be able to work more closely with marketing and ad sales to find creative synergies and opportunities at the group and brand levels."
Dinsmore joined CMT as executive vp development in February 2011, coming over from NBC, where he served as senior vp alternative. During his seven-year tenure, Dinsmore doubled the number of originals at CMT and helped shepherd the cabler into scripted originals that included saving country music drama Nashville after its cancellation at ABC. Dinsmore's list of hits for the network included Still the King, Party Down South, I Love Kellie Pickler, among others, and he was featured on THR's 2012 Reality TV Most Powerful list.
Here is Dinsmore's memo to staff:
One of my biggest dreams came true by being given the opportunity to work alongside each and every one of you.
Together, we saved “Nashville,” witnessed mind-blowing music events, produced critically acclaimed documentaries, introduced the birth of rock ‘n’ roll to a new generation, revived the mullet (or rather tried to), broke some skulls and did more than our share of “Partying Down South.”
CMT is an amazing and important place. Music is your heart and soul, but more importantly you are a true family.
Thanks to my incredible team in LA and Nashville. You’ve pushed me creatively and made me a better person.
Nashville has become my home-away-from-home. I will miss the frequent flyer miles, but most importantly, walking the halls and laughing with each of you.
I’ve had the privilege to learn from legendary creative forces…Brian, Van and Cyma. I am lucky to count this crew as mentors… and thankful to call them my friends. And call I will!
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Kevin, Frank and Keith, who’ve been great partners and strong advocates for the brand. I know they will continue to work closely with Suzanne, Anthony, Kurt and Leslie to build a great future.
I’ll be cheering you on. Thank you for allowing me to crash your party for 7 crazy beautiful years.
Here is Tanki's memo to staff:
I have an update on the development front. We’re taking the next steps in centralizing the development teams for Paramount, CMT and TV Land under Keith Cox, President of Development. As part of this transition, Jayson Dinsmore will step down as CMT’s head of development.
Kevin and I want to commend Jayson for his tremendous contributions. During his seven-year tenure, he helped evolve CMT from a music video channel to a fully realized brand. In our short time working together, I’ve come to quickly admire his creative energy and instincts, as well as his love for CMT and every one of you. He embodies the spirit of the channel and we will build upon his strong legacy by continuing to create memorable stories and characters that showcase the best attributes of our audience.
Jayson leaves us in fantastic shape. Thanks to all of your hard work, CMT is rounding out its best fiscal year since 2014. We’re currently at 9 months of consecutive ratings growth and are finishing a strong quarter. In total day, we’re up 15 percent with adults and a stellar 20 percent with women.
Looking to the future, our goal is to build upon this success to position Paramount, CMT and TV Land as the preeminent destinations for adult viewers. To succeed, we will need to create a unified voice while also maintaining each brand’s unique personality and attributes. By streamlining these development teams, we’ll be able to explore multi-brand talent development and first-look deals, while creating one focal point for the creative community. We’ll also be able to work more closely with marketing and ad sales to find creative synergies and opportunities at the group and brand levels.
CMT has a strong and proven development team that will now report directly into Keith, who has been leading the charge for CMT since June. A Kentucky native, he’s returning to his roots as he immerses himself in the brand with the goal of building upon our success to further capitalize on the new and growing fan-base we cultivated this year. We’re actively fast-tracking several projects and will announce new programming in the coming months.
I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Keith this year over at TV Land. He’s smart, highly creative, loves his teams and above all else, creating bold stories and characters. I look forward to bringing him to Nashville soon to meet each and every one of you.
Thank you, Jayson, and thanks to each of you for your unwavering hard work and support as we build toward a strong future.