CMT Entering Scripted Arena With Hire

CMT is planning to enter the scripted programming arena with the hiring of Brad Johnson as senior VP of comedy development. Johnson, who developed American Dad, Arrested Development and The Bernie Mac Show, among other programs, for 20th Century Fox, will be charged with developing scripted sitcoms and reality comedy programs.

Up until now CMT programming has consisted mostly of music based shows, such as The Singing Bee, and unscripted series like Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, World's Strictest Parents and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

"Brad has a fantastic track record and has been instrumental in developing and creating some of television's most successful comedies," said CMT head of development Bob Kusbit. "As a former studio executive, producer and writer, Brad has a unique talent for finding great comedy and is passionate about discovering the next great comedy project for CMT."

In addition to the Johnson hire, CMT greenlit two new unscripted adventure series, Danger Coast and Gator 911.

Danger Coast follows Miami's Marine Operations Bureau, and is produced by ITV Studios. Gator 911 follows the owner and staff of the Texas-based Gator Country adventure park, which rescues alligators from unusual places and takes them to the refuge.

Both half hour series received a 10 episode order and will premiere in the second quarter of 2010. The two shows will form a new "adventure block" for the network.

"The addition of these new adventure reality shows to our schedule is the next logical step in CMT's overall progression, and vital to expanding our viewership base," says Mary Beth Cunin, CMT's senior VP of programming strategy. "A branded adventure block complements our current programming strategy and gives us a broader promotional platform to build upon."