By Paula Hendrickson
I might not be a big country music fan, but I’ve always enjoyed the show Nashville. Shortly after ABC canceled it last spring, Viacom’s CMT – originally known as Country Music Television – picked it up.
The timing was right for both parties, since Nashville needed a new home just as CMT was looking to add original premium scripted programming to its lineup. And what better network for a TV series about the country music business than CMT?
Simply knowing new episodes of Nashville were in production made me glad. Sure, the previous season ended with Juliet’s (Hayden Panettiere) jet missing, possibly crashed, but that cliffhanger wasn’t what had me wondering about the new season. I wanted to know what was next for the The Exes (Claire Bowen and Sam Palladio) and how the family dynamic of Rayna, Deacon, Maddie and Daphne (Connie Britton, Charles Esten, and the freakishly talented young musicians Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella) will change once Maddie returns to the fold.
And let’s not forget that Will (Chris Carmack), Luke (Will Chase), Layla (Aubrey Peeples), and Avery (Jonathan Jackson) all have strong storylines, too.
Last month when CMT aired a sneak peek of the new season, I set my DVR for it, but nothing was recorded. That’s when I found out that for the first time since I’ve been a Comcast subscriber, CMT is no longer part of the their Digital Preferred package, which I subscribe to.
I checked with my contacts at Comcast and at CMT and was told Comcast recently moved CMT (and Spike) to a premium tier—one with a lot of sports channels, I understand. How or why Country Music Television fits with sports is beyond me. It would fit better with other music channels.
That means if you have Comcast and don’t pay even more for the sports package, just like me you won’t be able to watch Nashville when it comes to CMT this week. I asked my contact at CMT if they might simulcast or repeat episodes on one of Viacom’s other networks, and she said she’ll check to see if that’s being considered.
If you do subscribe to the Comcast tier that now includes CMT, you’ll also be able to stream the show on CMT.com or with the CMT app after its initial broadcast. But all hope is not lost for those of us who no longer get CMT. Hulu users will be able to stream new episodes of Nashville after it has aired.
I really hope Comcast’s decision to move CMT to another tier doesn’t impact the show’s ratings, but considering how vast the Comcast empire is, it sure won’t help.
Sure, I’ll probably get another call from Comcast if anyone there happens to read this. But when a company makes boneheaded decisions, they have to expect some backlash. If you’re a Nashville fan and Comcast subscriber who no longer gets CMT, don’t be shy. Tell Comcast what you think about their choice. I did.
If you still get CMT, you can watch the Nashville season premier Thursday at 8 p.m.
Authors note: After writing this column my CMT contact let me know that Nick @ Nite will be simulcasting the encore broadcasts of Nashville that will run immediately following each new episode.