CMT Continues to Bolster Development Base in LA and Establishes Internal Casting Division

LOS ANGELES – July 9, 2013 – CMT announced today the appointments of Julia Silverton as VP, Development and Zena Van Ackeren in the network’s newly-created position, VP, Talent and Specialty Casting. Silverton is charged with overseeing the development of a broad range of the network’s programming while Van Ackeren will develop the channel’s new internal casting division while also being charged with working alongside external producers and casting directors.

Both roles are based at the Viacom Media Network headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif, where they will ultimately report to Jayson Dinsmore, EVP Development and Programming. Both executives will also work closely with and report to Joe Livecchi, SVP, Development, based at the Viacom Media Network headquarters in New York.

Silverton and Van Ackeren join CMT at a pivotal time for the network, which is expanding and growing into more hours of original programming. Under Dinsmore’s leadership, the network has recently launched its largest programming initiative to date with Duane “Dog” Chapman in DOG AND BETH: ON THE HUNT, which premiered in April, and is in production on a second hit franchise revamped by CMT, ORANGE COUNTY CHOPPERS, featuring Paul Teutul Senior, slated to premiere early fall.

“Zena has spent more than a decade crisscrossing the country, searching for interesting and compelling characters,” said Dinsmore. “As we continue to explore new ways to find hit shows, adding a casting superstar like Zena is a no-brainer. There’s no doubt that she will help us find the next wave of CMT stars.”

Livecchi added: “Julia Silverton is a masterful and passionate storyteller. Her producer background gives her great shorthand with production companies. She’s not someone who just gives notes—she’s a partner in the process.”

Silverton had her start in England where she worked for ITV as a producer on magazine style shows and documentary series, including “Motorway,” one of the first British docu/reality series made in 1997. Since moving back to the States 13 years ago, she has continued to focus on story-driven content, both scripted and more documentary in approach. Silverton interviewed four US Presidents, including one sitting President, while producing a two-hour documentary for HISTORY in the wake of 9/11 and has gone on to make numerous reality pilots and season one series, including “Intervention,” “The Surreal Life,” and most recently, CMT’s “Cheer,” produced with Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa’s company, Milojo.

Van Ackeren began her casting career right out of college in 1998, booking shows such as “Blind Date,” before the term “Reality TV” was even coined. As the unscripted genre emerged over the next 10 years, Van Ackeren worked as a freelance casting director for major production companies in Los Angeles and New York. Since 2008, she has been exclusively working with Shed Media US, where her function was to oversee the casting department and work closely with executives in developing shows and talent. Van Ackeren’s credits also include hit series, “Supernanny,” MTV’s "Next,” “Don’t Forget The Lyrics,” “Big Brother,” “Biggest Loser,” and “Celebrity Mole."

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CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, 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.

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Stephanie Molina 310-752-8825 stephanie.molina@cmt.com


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