Viacom’s Music Group Sheds Jobs At CMT In Nashville As Part Of Ongoing Integration Effort

Without them, and many of our CMT colleagues, it would not be as strong as it is today. Suzanne and Anthony are passionate champions for the CMT brand and we are very grateful for their many years of dedication. Please join me in thanking them and wishing everyone continued success.
Hi everyone,
Best,
By integrating our departments across brands, removing silos and developing best-in-class creative teams, we are building a stronger group together.
Unfortunately, however, this new structure does mean some hard changes. A number of our CMT marketing colleagues will be leaving including Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of our Nashville office.
Thank you for your continued support as we transform our group and the company for the future.
Deadline has learned that the effort to streamline departments such as scheduling, communications and marketing is resulting in a number of positions being eliminated. The majority of positions are in marketing.
Last fall, Chris McCarthy added CMT to his portfolio in a restructuring by Viacom, expanding his role as President of MTV, VH1 and Logo to include CMT.
Today, we are taking the next step – as we finalize the integration of CMT with a new, simplified structure. Moving forward, the CMT marketing, music, scheduling, communications and event production teams will be fully integrated within our group, under our existing unified leadership team. Several CMT leads will be taking on expanded roles working across all of our brands, particularly in partnership marketing and event production.
With CMT being integrated into the Music Group (MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo), the Viacom network is eliminating several positions in the Nashville operations of CMT.
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The heart and soul of CMT is our music programming, tentpoles and deep connection to Nashville – which will be at the center of CMT’s growth plan forward. Through increased programming and events, we will further amplify Nashville and its thriving country music scene. More to come on this shortly.
Anthony Barton, head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, head of our Nashville office, are both exiting.
We have made great progress over the last couple of years to fully harness the creative power of our collective group.
Here is the full text of McCarthy's memo from McCarthy to employees:
A person familiar with the reorganization emphasized that the CMT brand (formerly Country Music Television) is not straying from its roots despite the layoffs. The network's building in Music City will remain and many of the programming initiatives will affirm the connection to the cradle of country.
In a memo to employees, McCarthy called it the new structure "new and simplified." He added that the CMT marketing, music, scheduling, communications and event production teams "will be fully integrated within our group, under our existing unified leadership team."

Kent Alterman & Chris McCarthy Expand Portfolios, Kevin Kay Exits In Latest Viacom Restructuring

Kevin is a passionate storyteller whose legacy at Viacom spans more than two decades and seven networks, and I’m thankful to him and his team for their many contributions. And during his tenure at Spike, he oversaw the launch of fan-favorites like The Ultimate Fighter, Lip Sync Battle, Bar Rescue and Ink Master, as well as the expansion of Bellator. At Nickelodeon, Kevin left his mark by overseeing a string of hits that included All That, Kenan & Kel and The Adventures of Pete & Pete – as well as developing and greenlighting SpongeBob SquarePants.
Nickelodeon
Today we are taking the next step forward in our evolution, with a new, simplified structure for Viacom Media Networks. Effective immediately, we will further consolidate our brand groups to four from five:
Best,
There are no changes to BET and Nickelodeon. As a result, Paramount Network, Bellator and TV Land will operate alongside Comedy Central under Kent Alterman, President, and Chris McCarthy will oversee MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo.
Over the past two years, we have made a lot of progress in our efforts to become a stronger, more agile organization. We’ve continued to work to break down silos and more strategically use our resources, to make the most of the great assets we have, and to help fund our future.
BET Networks
Similarly, CMT – with its deep roots in music and unscripted programming – is a natural partner for MTV and VH1. Paramount Network and TV Land share with Comedy Central a robust slate of scripted programming – with TV Land and Comedy Central, in particular, focused on comedy. By working as a team, all three networks can make the most out of their complementary expertise and resources. As we’ve done a lot of work to clarify our brands’ filters and positioning, a few things have become clear.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support as we transform this company for the future. We know there is a lot of change, but we continue to make important progress with each step we take.
Unfortunately, however, this new structure does mean some hard changes. A number of senior-level colleagues will be leaving, including Kevin Kay, who is stepping down as President, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. I am so grateful that Kevin has generously agreed to stay on for a period to help ensure a smooth transition.
Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land
Viacom Media Networks is undergoing another round of consolidation into four brand groups: Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land under Kent Alterman; MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo under Chris McCarthy; BET Networks and Nickelodeon.
I think they’re perfectly positioned to help Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT start their next chapters. Kent and Chris have been driving forces behind Viacom’s flagship strategy, re-energizing and growing two of our most iconic brands.
Here is Bakish's memo announcing the changes:
MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo
Kay's Viacom tenure started at Nickelodeon where he oversaw such series as All That, Kenan & Kel and The Adventures of Pete & Pete, as well as developing and greenlighting SpongeBob SquarePants. During his tenure at Spike, he oversaw the launch of The Ultimate Fighter, Lip Sync Battle, Bar Rescue and Ink Master, as well as the expansion of Bellator. Recent departures have included BET Networks and Nickelodeon toppers Debra Lee and Cyma Zarghami, respectively. More recently, Kay and his team launched Paramount Network, which replaced Spike in January 2018. Kay is the latest veteran top Viacom executive to leave since the January 2017 restructuring under Bakish.
While Comedy Central and Paramount Network have been leading scripted brands for Viacom, TV Land, branded a reinforcing brand in the 2017 restructuring, has been shedding original programming over the past two years and relying more heavily on off-network content.
McCarthy also recently launched MTV Studios to develop original series for partners across SVOD and premium TV. McCarthy was elevated to President of MTV, VH1 and Logo in October 2016 after serving as President of VH1 and Logo. In his tenure, MTV now is the fastest growing network in cable and number one with its 18-34 audience, while VH1 is riding three consecutive years of ratings growth. MTV has a social footprint of more than 350 million followers and doubled video streams in 2018. At MTV, McCarthy has engineered the network’s longest streak of ratings growth in seven years with such series as Siesta Key, Ex on the Beach, the new Jersey Shore and Floribama Shore.
The music-driven CMT will join President Chris McCarthy's current portfolio of MTV, VH1 and Logo. Alterman and McCarthy will continue to report to CEO Bob Bakish. Kevin Kay will step down as President, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT following a transition period after almost three decades at Viacom. There are no changes to BET Networks or Nickelodeon. That group is now being split into two, with Paramount Network and TV Land, as well as Bellator, joining Comedy Central under Comedy Central president Alterman.
Team,
Comedy Central was one of only three Top 20 networks to maintain or grow ratings among Adults 18-49 across the recently-concluded fiscal year and has maintained or grown share for 18 consecutive months. He also shepherded a global podcast network and a 24-hour satellite radio station, along with music and comedy festival Clusterfest. Since his return to Comedy Central in 2010, Alterman has launched such buzzy series as Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele, Broad City, Drunk History; he also oversaw the relaunch of The Daily Show with new host Trevor Noah. Alterman and McCarthy both have been rising stars at Viacom for the last few years. Comedy Central streamed nearly 4.7 billion videos across digital and social platforms in FY2018, a year-over-year increase of +63%. He has served as President of Comedy Central since 2016 after previously holding the position of President, Original Programming at the network.
Thanks to their hard work, Paramount Network quickly established itself as a home for premium content, achieving early critical and ratings success with the high-quality, cinematic original series Waco and Yellowstone – the latter of which is now the second-most-watched cable series of 2018. All of this while also ensuring that TV Land and CMT continue to be dominant forces in the very important audiences they reach. Most recently, he and his team undertook the huge task of launching Paramount Network.
“Over the course of his career at Viacom, Kevin’s creative vision and gift for telling great stories have made a lasting impact,” Bakish added. “Thanks to the efforts of Kevin and his team, we have successfully established Paramount Network as a home for premium content, and TV Land and CMT continue to be dominant forces in the audiences they serve. I’m so grateful for the many contributions they have made in evolving and strengthening these world-class brands for their next chapter.”
Kent and Chris have been driving forces behind Viacom’s flagship strategy, re-energizing and growing two of our most iconic brands, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.” “Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land share an original content strategy anchored in scripted programming, and CMT – with its deep roots in music and unscripted programming – is a natural partner for MTV and VH1. “These changes mark the next step in the ongoing evolution of our company as we continue to ensure we’re making the most of our great assets and resources, and operating as nimbly and efficiently as we can,” said Bakish.
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‘The Royals’ Canceled By E! After 4 Seasons; Series Eyed By Pop As Lionsgate TV Looks For New Home

The network has high hopes for the upcoming Flack starring Anna Paquin. Pop has been looking for a second signature series to join its flagship comedy Schitt's Creek.
The studio has already one high-profile save of a four-year-old series —  it was able to set Nashville up at CMT following the series' cancellation by ABC after four seasons. The country music drama ran for two more seasons.
has pilot Juicy Stories from Michael Patrick King. On the scripted side for E!
sibling UCP, also follows E!'s May cancellation of The Arrangement, whose second season aired alongside The Royals' fourth season, with both finales on May 13. The cancellation of The Royals, co-produced by Lionsgate and E! It is unclear whether the Schwahn controversy was a contributing factor but E!'s decision not to continue with The Royals is said to have been largely a business one as the series' most recent fourth season was down -22% among adults 18-49 year to year.
has opted not to renew its first and only remaining original scripted series, The Royals, for a fifth season. E! I hear the series' leading producing studio, Lionsgate TV, has been shopping the soapy drama starring Elizabeth Hurley and has been in talks with sister cable network Pop, a co-venture between Lionsgate and CBS, for a possible fifth season pickup.
Like with Nashville, which moved from a broadcast to a basic cable network, there are significant obstacles to overcome to relocate The Royals from a E! to Pop, which is based on a different business model with lower budgets for its original series.
The series stars Hurley, Jake Maskall, William Moseley, Alexandra Park, Damian Hurley and Tom Austen. Created by Schwahn, The Royals follows a fictional modern day royal family as they find love, conspire against one another, and are forced to face long-hidden secrets, all in the name of the crown.
Still, acquiring a show with built-in fan base like The Royals would likely give Pop an audience boost the way Nashville did for CMT, which would be beneficial to the net's co-owners Lionsgate and CBS.
E!'s decision comes three months after The Royals' Season 4 finale aired and eight months after the ouster of series creator/executive producer/showrunner Mark Schwahn following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations spanning more than a decade. Filming on Season 4 had already wrapped at the time of Schwahn's dismissal last December.
We are grateful to the cast and our producing partners at Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions.” “E! spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. "Over four seasons, The Royals took viewers behind the palace gates on a scandalous journey filled with twists and turns. will not be moving forward with another season of The Royals, which launched in 2015 as the network’s first original scripted series," an E!
The Royals is executive produced by Brian Robbins, Joe Davola and Shauna Phelan.” />
Meanwhile, I hear Lionsgate TV executives felt that there are more stories to tell in the world of The Royals as the UK royal family, used as an inspiration for the series, has been firmly in the U.S. cultural zeitgeist following Prince Harry's wedding to American actress Meghan Markle. In anticipation of a possible fifth season, Lionsgate TV had been searching for a new showrunner.