CMT ADDS “PICKLER & BEN” TO MORNING LINE-UP
Beginning Sept 19, CMT To Re-Air New Nashville Based Talk Show Hosted by Kellie Pickler & Ben Aaron
Addition of CMT Increases Launch Reach From 38 Local Markets to National Distribution
NASHVILLE - September 14, 2017— CMT today announced it will add “Pickler & Ben” to its morning line up. The new daytime television show features the best in lifestyle and entertainment. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, CMT will re-air the new Nashville-based talk show as part of its daily morning line up.
Executive produced by Grammy Award-winning super star Faith Hill, Lisa Erspamer and Jason Owen, “Pickler & Ben” will be hosted by country music and CMT star Kellie Pickler and Emmy Award-winning television personality Ben Aaron. The addition of CMT catapults the series from 38 local television markets at launch to national distribution, reaching CMT’s 74 million households.
The new episodes will air first in 21 markets owned and operated by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), and 17 additional markets through Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, and on CMT the morning after the first run.
The pickup comes on the heels of a strong year for CMT, which has posted nine consecutive months of year-over-year ratings growth with adults 18-49. Quarter-to-date, CMT is up 15 percent from a year ago with adults 18-49 and up 20 percent with women 18-49. (L+SD, CMT Total Day)
The series will feature Kellie and Ben hosting segments with top celebrities, tastemakers and experts on everything from entertaining and home design to cooking, DIY and more. The show will be recorded in front of a live audience at a studio on an expansive, modern farmhouse-styled set. Fans can join a taping by requesting tickets through the show’s website.
A regular fixture on CMT since the launch of her 2006 debut album “Small Town Girl,” Pickler now stars in the docu-comedy series "I Love Kellie Pickler" that follows her madcap relationships with friends and family, along with her adoring husband, Kyle Jacobs, her complete opposite. The 2015 series debut marked CMT’s highest-rated premiere among women 18-49 since 2008. The third season kicked off on Aug. 3 with new episodes premiering on Thursdays at 11 p.m. Eastern time.
“The combination of Faith serving as producer and Kellie as one of the co-hosts makes ‘Pickler & Ben’ a natural fit for CMT,” said Frank Tanki, general manager of CMT and TV Land. “The reciprocal partnership with Scripps will allow the show to reach a national audience, while providing us new country lifestyle programming for our fans.”
Hill shares the executive producer role with Erspamer, co-founder of Happy Street Entertainment and Owen, president and CEO of Sandbox Entertainment. They work in partnership with Scripps. Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution is distributing the show in national syndication.
To get a sneak peek of the show, stay up to date on episodes and get a behind-the-scenes look at the hosts in action, follow “Pickler & Ben” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Hosts
Kellie Pickler first gained fame at the age of 19 as a contestant on the fifth season of “American Idol.” She has gone on to release four critically acclaimed albums, including her Gold-certified debut “Small Town Girl” as well as “100 Proof,” which Rolling Stonenamed the Best Country Album of 2011. In spring of 2013, Pickler won the Mirror Ball Trophy on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and also released her fourth album, “The Woman I Am,” with Black River Entertainment, which featured three songs co-written by Pickler including the title cut. She launched her home goods line, Selma Drye by Kellie Pickler, named after her grandmother in collaboration with the Opry Stores (shop.opry.com) in 2015. Kellie Pickler's CMT docu-comedy series "I Love Kellie Pickler," which co-stars her husband, songwriter/producer Kyle Jacobs, debuted in November 2015, propelling the network to its highest premiere with adults since 2012 and women since 2008. The hit television series returned for its third season earlier this month. Pickler is an avid supporter of the U.S. military, having completed 11 USO Tours thus far.
Ben Aaron has earned four Emmy Awards as a features reporter for “New York Live” on WNBC and has numerous TV credits as a contributor for “Extra,” “Meredith” and “Today.” His posted stories on YouTube have earned millions of views. He recently teamed up with his wife, Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist for “Good Morning America,” on a new home renovation show on the DIY Network called “Renovation Realities: Ben and Ginger.”
About the Producers
Faith Hill has been a force in the entertainment industry for over two decades, having achieved unprecedented success in the worlds of country and pop music as one of the top-selling and most-awarded female artists of all time. Over the course of her incomparable performing career, Hill has co-produced all her record-breaking, critically acclaimed network television specials, live performances and videos from concept to completion. “Pickler & Ben” combines Faith’s love for design with her passion for family, community and connection. Her hands-on approach and keen eye will be reflected in every aspect of this new show. Think of Faith as “Pickler & Ben’s” seal of approval.
Lisa Erspamer is a three-time Emmy-nominated producer for her work on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” a New York Times best-selling author, and former chief creative officer and executive vice president of programming and development for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Most recently, Lisa is the co-founder of Happy Street Entertainment, a television, film, digital production and entertainment consulting company. Happy Street will debut the feature documentary on Whitney Houston worldwide in 2018.
Jason Owen is the CEO of Sandbox Entertainment, a full-service management and entertainment company that represents award-winning country artists including international star Faith Hill, Grammy Award-winning acts Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves, and breakout groups Dan+Shay and Midland, as well as the luxury resort Blackberry Farm, the town of Wilson, Arkansas, and the estates of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Sr. The Emmy-Award winning entertainment industry veteran currently serves as executive producer on Cooking Channel’s “Simply Southern,” as well as co-president of the newly relaunched record label, Monument Records.
The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of television, radio and digital media brands. With 33 television stations, Scripps is one of the nation’s largest independent TV station owners. Scripps runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and content businesses, including Newsy, the next-generation national news network; and podcast industry leader Midroll Media. Scripps produces original programming including “Pickler & Ben,” runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
CMT is the leading authority on country music and lifestyle, offering a mix of original series, music events and specials. CMT is everywhere its fans are including two cable channels (CMT and the 24-hour music channel, CMT Music), radio (CMT Radio), digital (CMT App, CMT.com[CMT.com]) and social (CMT on Facebook, CMT on Instagram and CMT on Twitter). CMT is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB). For more information, please visit CMT Press.
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