Still the King, CMT’s first original scripted series, was a breakout, with its 2016 debut marking the network’s highest-rated original series premiere at the time with more than 4.7 million total viewers in Live+3 across three Viacom networks. Its second season aired this past summer.
Under the new Viacom leadership, CMT, a reinforcing brand in the new structure, has shifted its programming strategy, focusing solely on original unscripted fare, which is significantly cheaper than scripted. In addition to canceling Still the King, the network also is bidding farewell to flagship drama Nashville, whose upcoming sixth season will be its last, to go all-unscripted. It previously aired drama series Million Dollar Quartet and still carries off-network scripted shows.
CMT gave the all-unscripted lineup a spin in the current quarter. Without any scripted series, CMT has the highest year-over-year gains of any Top 50 ad-supported cable channel in both adults 18-49 and women 18-49. Overall, with help from Nashville and Still the King, the network has garnered 49 consecutive weeks of year-over-year growth, the longest-running streak in ad-supported cable.
Still The King starred Cyrus as Vernon Brown, aka “Burnin’ Vernon,” a scandal-ridden, washed-up one-hit wonder who is kicked out of country music, only to emerge 20 years later as the second best Elvis impersonator. The series was produced by Hideout Pictures with Cyrus serving as executive producer and writer. Shannon Houchins, Potsy Ponciroli and Travis Nicholson also executive produced.