Grand Old Opry Live, the televised segment of the longest running radio show in America, will move from The National Network (TNN) to Country Music Televison (CMT) on Aug. 18, CMT and Opry parent company Gaylord Entertainment announced Thursday (July 12). The show will expand from 30 minutes to an hour and will air three times each weekend instead of the current two times. The new format will combine Opry stage performances with behind-the-scenes footage.
Both CMT and TNN are under the MTV Networks/Viacom umbrella. The Opry radio show began as the “WSM Barn Dance” in Nashville in 1925 and began airing televised segments each Saturday night on TNN in 1985. TNN, originally The Nashville Network, has concentrated less on country music in recent years. Meanwhile, CMT continues to increase its country music programming focus beyond music videos.
Opry execs are pleased to become a part of the country music-focused network.
“This will attract new viewers to CMT while exposing the Opry’s legends to CMT’s younger demographic mix,” said Carl Kornmeyer, president of Gaylord’s Music, Media & Entertainment Group. “It also allows rising artists on the Opry another avenue to attract new fans. The Opry represents the depth and breadth of country music, and our joining with an industry leader such as CMT benefits everyone.”
CMT will telecast Grand Ole Opry Live at 8 p.m. ET Saturdays, with repeats airing at 11 p.m. ET Saturdays and 11 a.m. ET Sundays. The show emanates from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
“CMT is devoted to keeping our viewers completely connected to country music, and it’s a great honor for the network to be home to the most revered and respected brand in country music in the world,” CMT Senior Vice President and General Manager Paul Hastaba said. “The Opry is a vibrant and exciting showcase for the legends of our genre as well as for contemporary stars and up-and-coming talent that so respects the tradition and history of the Opry.”
“The Opry is about relationships between artists, fans, and the great legacy of the show itself,” Grand Ole Opry Group President Steve Buchanan said. “We are very pleased with the new relationship with CMT and the opportunity that provides us to work with a partner that shares our passion for the music and the magic of the Opry.”