'Singing Bee' hits right notes at CMT


"The Singing Bee" is coming back, but not to NBC. The musical reality competition has found a new home on cable network CMT, which plans to relaunch the series in the summer.

CMT will premiere the show June 16 after the presentation of its annual CMT Awards, then will pair the one-hour series with its other singing-competition show, "Can You Duet," starting June 20.

CMT head of development Bob Kusbit said the network was interested in "Bee" from its inception and lost the initial bidding war with NBC for the rights. NBC debuted the series in 2007 right before Fox premiered its similarly formatted "Don't Forget the Lyrics." "Bee" opened stronger in the Nielsens, but"Lyrics" won the ratings battle in the long haul and NBC passed on a second season.

"We jumped at it," Kusbit said. "To have had a launching pad like a network where it's been out there in front of a lot of people, it's great. It's perfect for our audience coming here in the summer months."

The series will have a mix of 60% country and 40% other genres of music. Ten episodes have been ordered.

The network is near a deal for a host on the show. "Bee" is produced by the Gurin Co. and Juma. Executive producers are Philip Gurin and Robert Horowitz, along with Kusbit, John Hamlin and Claire McCabe. Brennan Huntington and Lewis Fenton co-executive produce. (partialdiff)