CMT & Award-Winning Filmmakers Partner on New Documentaries

CMT & Award-Winning Filmmakers Partner on New Documentaries

CMT is making good on its promise to create a News & Docs division with an impressive slate of inaugural projects in development from critically acclaimed and award-winning producers including Ridley Scott and Morgan Spurlock, among others. At the network's upfront presentation today, Jayson Dinsmore, Executive Vice President of CMT Programming and Development, revealed several projects that will establish CMT's News and Docs division, covering a wide range of topics that will appeal to the growing CMT audience. The annual event was held at the TimesCenter in Manhattan and included a private, three-song set by Grammy Award-winning country group Lady Antebellum.

"We're fulfilling our promise to create a CMT News & Docs division with a slate of bold and compelling stories that reflect big personalities and monumental events that helped define America, our music and our spirit," said Dinsmore. "We've partnered with some of the most respected and visionary filmmakers working today, all charged with producing unique documentaries through an authentic and distinctive lens."

Today's announcements come at a time when CMT has posted four consecutive quarters of year-over-year ratings increases, with 22% total day growth and 31% growth in prime.* CMT just wrapped the first quarter (1Q'14) with its highest prime rating since 2009. It is one of the fastest-growing networks among all of cable due in large part to its loud slate of new originals and returning hit series.

Forthcoming documentaries include PROMISELAND from Oscar-nominated executive producer Ridley Scott; THEY CALLED US OUTLAWS by acclaimed filmmaker Eric Geadelmann and Academy Award-winner Mark Johnson; FREEDOM by Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock; and URBAN LEGEND: WHEN A NATION WENT COUNTRY by John Dorsey and Andrew Stephan, producers of ESPN's highest-rated documentary "Pony Excess." Also premiering is JOHNNY CASH - AMERICAN REBEL and episodes of CMT's returning franchise INSIDE FAME, which profiles such country superstars as FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE and HUNTER HAYES. Jayson Dinsmore and Lewis Bogach serve as executive producers for CMT's News & Docs division, including the projects outlined below.


Executive producer Ridley Scott and the producers behind the critically acclaimed and award-winning television events "Gettysburg," "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Kennedy" present an epic new documentary miniseries celebrating the UnSung hero of our country: the American farmer. This groundbreaking four-hour miniseries highlights the captivating true stories of farming families with agricultural roots that trace back for generations. Featuring innovative storytelling and sweeping cinematic visuals, PROMISELAND reveals how these hard working men and women form the backbone of our nation. PROMISELAND is executive produced by Ridley Scott, David Zucker and Mary Lisio of Scott Free Productions.

Presented by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, this eight hour documentary event comes from the award-winning and critically acclaimed filmmaker Eric Geadelmann ("Dave" and "The Dance"), best-selling biographer Joe Nick Patoski ("Willie Nelson - An Epic Life") and Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning producer Mark Johnson ("Breaking Bad," "Rain Man," respectively.) What happened in Nashville and in Austin in the late 1960s and early 1970s was nothing less than a tectonic shift in country music. From Tennessee to Texas, musicians were breaking all the rules, pushing aside long established traditions and doing things their own way. THEY CALLED US OUTLAWS tells this story in four feature-length documentary films. It is an in-depth never-before-seen look at the pickers, the players, and the writers who altered the course of country music forever. THEY CALLED US OUTLAWS is "Willie, Waylon & the Boys," and a few irreverent girls, at the height of their rule-breaking days; featuring over twenty American music icons including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Joe Ely, Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel, Rodney Crowell, The Flatlanders, Jessi Colter, Marcia Ball and Emmylou Harris. THEY CALLED US OUTLAWS is produced by Crowfly Pictures Entertainment and Filament Productions and was written, directed and produced by Eric Geadelmann, Kelly Magelsky and Ken Levitan, and executive produced by Mark Johnson, Joe Nick Patoski, Cal Turner, Margaret Turner, Craig Eiland, Randy Paul, Ray Benson & Mickey Raphael.

From Academy Award and Emmy-nominated filmmaker/executive producer Morgan Spurlock, comes FREEDOM: THE DOCUMENTARY. This epic 90-minute film takes an in-depth look at the idea of independence and whether we're all still truly liberated in today's America. Equal parts comedic and irreverent, we will traverse the country, meeting the outlaws, the outlandish and the outspoken freedom fighters who are fighting the good fight every step of the way. We'll explore all sides of the issue, on an unheralded quest to understand the full scope of the freedoms afforded to us across this great nation. FREEDOM: THE DOCUMENTARY will finally ask and answer the ultimate question: "What does it mean to be 'free' in America?" FREEDOM: THE DOCUMENTARY is executive produced by Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick and Ethan Goldman of Warrior Poets.

From the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producers and directors of the ESPN "30 for 30" film "Pony Excess," which debuted as the highest-rated documentary in network history, and the Emmy-nominated "The Marinovich Project," comes URBAN LEGEND: WHEN A NATION WENT COUNTRY. The feature-length documentary delves into the phenomenon sparked by the 1980 film "Urban Cowboy" - when country music found itself in vogue nationally for the first time in history. At the center of the new country movement was Gilley's, the largest bar in the world located in the oilfields just outside Houston. The documentary tells the boom and bust story of this Texas-sized phenomenon and the honky-tonk that inspired it - the true story about the moment when a nation finally went country. URBAN LEGEND: WHEN A NATION WENT COUNTRY is produced by Ten100 Productions and directed by John Dorsey and Andrew Stephan.

JOHNNY CASH - AMERICAN REBEL is a celebration of the larger-than-life Johnny Cash from the unique perspective of the Man in Black's 10 greatest songs. This feature-length documentary explores the life, music and artist expression of one of music's most notorious rebels, from his first No. 1 hit, "I Walk the Line," in 1957 to 2002's "Hurt," which is considered his farewell masterpiece and one of the most acclaimed music videos of all time. Combining cinematically filmed original interviews with Cash's family and friends, and a broad array of international superstars, a classic Cash soundtrack, archival concert footage and family snapshots, the film is an epic tribute to this gifted artist, fighter of causes and legendary entertainer. JOHNNY CASH - AMERICAN REBEL is executive produced by Derick Murray and Paul Gertz from Network Entertainment.

CMT takes us deep inside fame with today's hottest country music stars. Each one-hour episode will feature a different artist and will include all-new in-depth interviews with the artists themselves, their families, fellow artists, producers and journalists, as well as personal photos, never-before-seen home videos and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage along with current and archival performance footage. FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE and HUNTER HAYES will be spotlighted in episodes premiering later this year.

*Source: NMR, Live+SD, 1Q14 (12/30/13-03/30/14) vs. 1Q13 (12/31/12-03/31/13)

CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website,, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.

Since its 2006 inception, Lady Antebellum has won the CMT "Group Video of the Year" award for the last four years and the CMA and ACM "Vocal Group of the Year" honor three times in a row. The trio has sold more than 11 million albums worldwide, taken eight trips to No. 1 on the country radio charts, earned five platinum singles and has been awarded with seven Grammy Awards including the all-genre "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year." Lady A is currently out on the road headlining their 2014 Take Me Downtown Tour with guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves. They also recently released "Golden (Deluxe)", which includes their No. 1 smash hits "Compass" and the platinum-certified "Downtown." For more information, visit