9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
CMT Orders Billy Ray Cyrus Scripted Comedy, Chelsea Handler-Produced Late-Night Talker
CMT is joining the late-night fray and getting back into the scripted space.
The Viacom-owned cable network announced Thursday that it has ordered its first-ever nightly talk show, handing out a series pickup to The Josh Wolf Show, while also greenlighting four other new series including a scripted comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus and unscripted series featuring Kellie Pickler and YouTube breakout Ed Bassmaster.
Also returning to the country-themed network are new seasons of Party Down South, Party Down South 2 as well as Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge, all of which will join a lineup that will include American Speed: The True Story of NASCAR (narrated by Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and syndicated repeats of critical darling Friday Night Lights.
"CMT is on fire. We are producing more original content than ever before and have a rich pipeline of fresh and innovative ideas," said Jayson Dinsmore, exec vp development at CMT. "This year, we're enlisting some of the biggest names in the industry to unleash a groundbreaking new programming slate including epic events and music specials, a bold scripted comedy and brilliant documentaries."
The Josh Wolf Show, set to debut June 11, hails from executive producer Chelsea Handler. The nightly series (airing Wednesday-Saturday) will feature the comedian — who guest-hosted Chelsea Lately — in panel discussions, interviews and sketches with stars from the worlds of country, Hollywood and beyond. Free 90 Media's Brad Wollack and Tom Brunelle also exec produce.
Scripted comedy Still the King will star Cyrus as Vernon Brown, a scandal-ridden washed-up, one-hit wonder who is kicked out of country music only to emerge 20 years later as the second-best Elvis impersonator in Laughlin, Nevada. After crashing into a church outside of Nashville during a drunken bender, he's sentenced to return and perform community service. Along the way, he pretends to be the congregation’s new minister and discovers he has a 15-year-old daughter he’s never met. The series, which does not yet have a premiere date, hails from Hideout Pictures, with Cyrus serving as a writer and exec producer. Shannon Houchins, Potsy Ponciroli and Travis Nicholson also executive produce, while Julia Silverton and Dinsmore overseeing for CMT. Still the King marks CMT's second scripted series and follows the short-lived Melissa Peterman sitcom Working Class.
Pickler, a season five contestant on Fox's Seacrest-hosted American Idol, will topline docuseries I Love Kellie Pickler. Set to debut Sept. 18, the series will follow her marriage to Kyle Jacobs. Seacrest exec produces alongside Eugene Young, Rabih Gholam, Pickler and Jacobs as well as CMT's Dinsmore and Morgan Selzer.
The Ed Bassmaster Show (June 17) hails from the producers of Teen Wolf and follows the YouTube breakout (1.9 million subscribers and 472 million views) as he unleashes various characters on unsuspecting people. The show, Bassmaster's first, is executive produced by Tony Di Santo and Liz Gateley through DiGa Vision as well as Adam Dolgins, Tom Gianas and CMT's Matt Trierweiler.