CMT Creating Made-for-TV Original Movies

LeAnn Rimes, Ricky Schroder, Laura Bell Bundy Will Star in New Projects

CMT is adding made-for-television movies to its development and programming slate with the creation of the CMT Original Movies franchise. This new division will roll out television movies for the network focusing primarily on romantic comedies, in addition to music-based films.

Due later this summer, the first two movies will include To the Mat (working title) starring Ricky Schroder (24, NYPD Blue) and singer-actress Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde: The Musical, How I Met Your Mother). The other is Reel Love starring LeAnn Rimes. Both films will be produced by Entertainment One Television.

To the Mat tells the story of a laid-back ex-wrestler (Schroder) who’s trying to keep his family’s down-and-out Southern wrestling school above water. When his mother hires an uptight Wall Street consultant from New York (Bundy) to help get the books in order, these two opposites must find a way to get along and save the family business. Written by C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama) and directed by Rob Iscove (She’s All That), To the Mat is currently in production in British Columbia and is set to premiere in August.

Reel Love stars Rimes as a successful, big-city girl who returns to her small-town roots after a family emergency. Her character embarks on a soulful, comedic journey to reconnect with family and friends and find meaningful romance along the way. Written by Sharon Weil Aaron and directed by Brian K. Roberts (Everyone Loves Raymond), Reel Love is set to begin production in Ontario in late April and will premiere in September.

CMT Original Movies was created in the wake of the success of CMT Films, which produced and distributed films from 2005-2010. CMT Films was a full-service film studio that used innovative distribution methods including theatrical and network premieres to distribute the films before premiering them on CMT and releasing them for DVD sales. Films included Broken Bridges and Beer for My Horses as well as the Emmy-nominated Dale, about the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, and Petty Blue, a documentary of NASCAR’s royal racing family.