Dish To Debut CMT Series

Dish Network will get exclusive first-run rights to several episodes of CMT's country music series Invitation Only beginning in June as part of a distribution deal reached between the two companies announced Monday.

Under the deal, six episodes of the CMT series, which features performances from top country music stars will have exclusive premiere windows on the satellite service as part of Dish Network's "CMT Front Row Only on Dish Network" block of programming on its channel 101 and as part of its on-demand offerings.

New episodes of Invitation Only, which will air in HD on Ch. 101, will premiere the first Tuesday of each month on Dish and Dish On Demand, beginning June 2. The first show will feature performer Darius Rucker, with upcoming episodes featuring McEntire, Brad Paisley and Sugarland.

The deal also calls for Dish to distribute content from CMT's CMT Crossroads and the June 16 2009 CMT Music Awards.

"Providing world premiere HD content like CMT's exclusive country music concert series is just one of the reasons Dish Network is the pay-TV leader in high quality programming and value," said Dish chief marketing officer Ira Bahr in a statement.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.