NASHVILLE – January 30, 2008 – CMT’s new series GONE COUNTRY, which premiered Friday, January 25, was seen by more than 10.5 million total viewers cumulative* during the premiere and repeat telecasts over the weekend. The premiere ranks as the network’s highest-rated series debut since the launch of THE ULTIMATE COYOTE UGLY SEARCH in 2006.

“When you take someone as talented and successful as John Rich, give him the most unique, colorful, iconic cast imaginable, and turn them all loose in Nashville to become country superstars – there was no doubt it would be great television,” said Bob Kusbit, head of development for CMT. “We’re thrilled that the audience agreed.”

The premiere episode of GONE COUNTRY has also aired across other MTV Networks, including VH1, TV Land and MTV2. New episodes will also premiere weekly on CMT On Demand beginning February 1. Full episodes and extras of GONE COUNTRY can be seen here at

GONE COUNTRY premieres each Friday at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT on CMT. To get the inside scoop, see fun behind-the-scenes moments or to read John Rich’s personal accounts, visit

GONE COUNTRY features a unique mix of mainstream celebrities who learn the fine art of country crooning by John Rich, of the multi-platinum selling country duo Big & Rich. This seven-episode series takes seven established performers from every realm of the entertainment and music industries, including Bobby Brown, Carnie Wilson, Dee Snider, Diana DeGarmo, Julio Iglesias Jr., Maureen McCormick and Sisqó and immerses them in all things country for a chance to break out as the next big country superstar.

In each episode, the cast competes against one another in challenges that test their ability to adapt musically and physically to a country music lifestyle, both on and off the stage. From performing before a Nashville audience alongside Gretchen Wilson and the MuzikMafia to getting a crash course in southern cooking or learning how to master the art of ATV off-roading, the cast learns the finer points of a country music lifestyle. Each contestant is paired with two Nashville songwriters who guide them in writing lyrics and music for a country single that they will debut in the series finale. At the end of the two weeks, the artist that is most prepared to impress a country audience, as determined by Rich, will record and release their song to country radio.

GONE COUNTRY is executive produced by David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe of Renegade 83 Productions. Marc Oswald serves as executive producer. Melanie Moreau and Bob Kusbit serve as executive producers for CMT.

Visit CMT's press-only Web site for more information and downloadable photos on all of CMT's programming.

CMT, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 87 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website,, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.

MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom , is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with 137 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN/THE N, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.

*Nielsen NPOWER P2+ Cume (1 minute qualifier) for nine plays

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Amanda Murphy 615-335-8408


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