CMT will launch its new News & Docs division with an impressive slate of inaugural projects in development from critically-acclaimed and award-winning producers including Ridley Scott and Morgan Spurlock, among others.
At the network’s upfront presentation in New York City on Wednesday (April 2), several projects were revealed that will establish CMT’s News and Docs division, covering a wide range of topics that will appeal to the growing CMT audience. The annual event included a private, three-song set by Grammy-winning country group Lady Antebellum.
Upcoming documentaries include Promiseland from Oscar-nominated executive producer Ridley Scott; They Called Us Outlaws by acclaimed filmmaker Eric Geadelmann and Academy Award-winner Mark Johnson; Freedom by Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock; and Urban Legend: When a Nation Went Country by John Dorsey and Andrew Stephan, producers of ESPN’s Pony Excess.
Here are more details about the News & Docs projects:
This epic new documentary celebrates the unsung hero of our nation — the American farmer. This groundbreaking four-hour miniseries highlights the captivating true stories of farming families with agricultural roots that trace back for generations. Featuring innovative storytelling and sweeping cinematic visuals, Promiseland reveals how these hardworking men and women form the backbone of our nation.
They Called Us Outlaws: Cosmic Cowboys, Honky Tonk Heroes and the Rise of Redneck Rock
Presented by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, this eight-hour documentary event examines what happened in Nashville and in Austin in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an era that displayed a major shift in country music. From Tennessee to Texas, musicians were breaking all the rules, pushing aside long-established traditions and doing things their own way. They Called Us Outlaws tells this story in four feature-length documentary films. It is an in-depth never-before-seen look at the pickers, the players and the songwriters who altered the course of country music forever. They Called Us Outlaws is “Willie, Waylon and the Boys” and a few irreverent girls at the height of their rule-breaking days. The documentary will feature more than 20 American music icons including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Joe Ely, Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel, Rodney Crowell, the Flatlanders, Jessi Colter, Marcia Ball and Emmylou Harris.
Freedom: The Documentary
This 90-minute film takes an in-depth look at the idea of independence and whether we’re all still truly liberated in today’s America. Equal parts comedic and irreverent, the production will traverse the country, meeting the outlaws, the outlandish and the outspoken freedom fighters that are fighting the good fight every step of the way. It will explore all sides of the issue on an unheralded quest to understand the full scope of the freedoms afforded to us across the nation. Freedom: The Documentary will finally ask and answer the ultimate question: “What does it mean to be ‘free’ in America?”
Urban Legend: When a Nation Went Country
This feature-length documentary delves into the phenomenon sparked by the 1980 film Urban Cowboy when country music found itself in vogue nationally for the first time in history. At the center of the new country movement was Gilley’s, the largest bar in the world located in the oilfields just outside Houston. The documentary tells the boom and bust story of this Texas-sized phenomenon and the honky-tonk that inspired it — the true story about the moment when a nation finally went country.
Johnny Cash — American Rebel
The celebration of the larger-than-life Johnny Cash is told from the unique perspective of the Man in Black’s 10 greatest songs. The feature-length documentary explores the life, music and artist expression of one of music’s most notorious rebels from his first No. 1 hit, “I Walk the Line” in 1957, to 2002′s “Hurt,” which is considered his farewell masterpiece and one of the most acclaimed music videos of all time. Combining cinematically-filmed original interviews with Cash’s family and friends and a broad array of international superstars, a classic Cash soundtrack, archival concert footage and family snapshots, the film is a tribute to this gifted artist, fighter of causes and legendary entertainer.
CMT takes fans deep inside fame with today’s hottest country stars. Each one-hour episode will feature a different artist and will include all-new in-depth interviews with the artists themselves, their families, fellow artists, producers and journalists, as well as personal photos, never-before-seen home videos and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage along with current and archival performance footage. Florida Georgia Line and Hunter Hayes will be spotlighted in future episodes.