CMT packed its 2015 upfront with stars: singer Darius Rucker performing at the upfront presentation at New York's TimesCenter, and the stars of the network's slate of new shows, including Billy Ray Cyrus and Kellie Pickler, introducing clips of their shows.
"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," said CMT evp of development Jayson Dinsmore.
The network will introduce two new star-driven comedies: "Still the King," a scripted comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus as a washed-up one-hit-wonder kicked out of country music only to return years later posing as the new minister of a country church; and "I Love Kellie Pickler," featuring the American Idol Season 5 contestant. "It's kind of a modern-day 'I Love Lucy,'" Pickler said.
Comedian Josh Wolf will host CMT's first-ever nightly talk show, "The Josh Wolf Show," produced by Chelsea Handler. The show will air Wednesday through Saturday nights, with panel discussions, comedy sketches and country music stars.
The network, which will return its CMT Music Awards this June and CMT Artists of the Year in December, announced eight new live concert specials, and CMT will debut a new kind of big-event in "American Speed: The True Story of NASCAR," a three-night series narrated by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The network has also acquired "Friday Night Lights," and is searching for a "flagship drama" said Dinsmore, who said Friday Night Lights was a perfect fit for the CMT audience. "When we see something that screams CMT, we go after it."