John Hamlin Exits CMT to Form Production Banner, Inks Overall Deal With Network

The cable network has promoted Jayson Dinsmore and Leslie Fram in the wake of Hamlin's departure.
Courtesy of CMT Press

John Hamlin is going solo.

The longtime CMT executive is stepping down as the channel's senior vp music events and talent to launch his own production and management company, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Hamlin's new banner, Switched On Entertainment, has signed a multi-year overall deal with the network that will keep him on as exec producer of signature specials including the CMT Music Awards, CMT Artists of the Year and CMT Crossroads. As part of the pact, Hamlin will also develop new events and specials. Switched On Entertainment will be based in Nashville, and Hamlin will retain an office at CMT.

“John has contributed a singular, indelibly strong point of view to all of CMT’s best music franchises,” said CMT president Brian Philips. “Hamlin is an unparalleled producer, my trusted friend and co-conspirator. He brings new creative angles and ideas into the building every day. We celebrate and support the launch of John’s new entrepreneurial venture, and [are] thankful our most noteworthy shows remain in his capable hands.”

In addition to live music, Switched On Entertainment will focus on sports, documentaries, entertainment programming and artist management. The company has already signed artists Marc Scibilia and Hot Chelle Rae, and more announcements are expecting in the coming weeks.

Prior to joining CMT in 2007, Hamlin enjoyed stints at CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN and most notably 60 Minutes, where he worked for two decades.

“To be able to continue my working relationship with Viacom and CMT, produce and create programming with new partners and manage artists I’m passionate about is a dream scenario," said Hamlin. "I’m grateful to Brian Philips and everyone at CMT for an incredible eight years, and I look forward to producing television with CMT for years to come.”

In the wake of Hamlin's exit, CMT has also promoted two senior executives, Jayson Dinsmore and Leslie Fram, to new roles. Dinsmore, CMT's evp development, will now oversee production on all music series and events. Fram, svp music strategy, will oversee the music talent department.

“These are easy and opportunistic organizational moves. Dinsmore, aside from his history as developer of CMT’s biggest hits ever, brings broadcast background with events and alternative programming at NBC," Philips said. "My longtime colleague Leslie Fram needs no introduction to anyone in Nashville music, nor to anyone in any sector of the industry. She has cultivated and nurtured music talent her entire brilliant career, and it feels right to bring this key CMT division under her proven leadership.”

Following his 10-plus years at NBC, Dinsmore joined CMT in 2011 and helped launch network success stories like Party Down South. A radio vet before joining coming aboard in 2011, Fram is credited with the channel's “Next Women of Country” campaign.