‘Nashville’ the show leaving ABC for CMT, but taxpayers probably won’t get a break

‘Nashville’ the show leaving ABC for CMT, but taxpayers probably won’t get a break

The split between ABC and “Nashville” the show marks the city’s biggest breakup since Blake and Miranda parted ways.

But because it will air on CMT, the show keeps the ring while taxpayers are sent to the curb, says one think tank.

According to a recent Beacon Center of Tennessee blog, state taxpayers will pay something to the tune of $11 million to keep the show filming on location.

The fifth season, to air on CMT, includes 22 episodes.

State taxpayers will pay $8.5 million. Nashville taxpayers will pay an additional $1 million, and the taxpayer-subsidized Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp will pay another $1 million.

Butch Spyridon (photo courtesy of YouTube)

Butch Spyridon (photo courtesy of YouTube)

Tennessee has given the show $45 million over its four-year run. Officials with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development divvied out a lot of that taxpayer money.

But moving to CMT promises little in terms of payoffs, Beacon said.

“Is CMT really worth extra handouts? The station’s viewership says no. In 2015, ABC finished third overall with more than 6.8 million viewers. CMT? You’ll have to scroll way down to number 61, with a paltry 350,000 viewers,” said Beacon Center President Justin Owen in his column.

“Along the way you’ll scroll past the likes of Lifetime, Hallmark and its sister station Hallmark Movies, and even SyFy. What’s next, will ‘Sharknado 4’ come calling for a film incentive? From a handout-to-viewer ratio, that deal makes more sense. Plus the acting is better.”

Sean Braisted, spokesman for Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, referred all questions to Lionsgate Entertainment, which produces the show.

Lionsgate officials, however, did not return repeated requests for comment, and neither did CMT.

The Nashville-based Ryman Hospitality, which created the show, declined comment.

Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville CVC, in an email says Beacon “has missed the point.”

“The show will continue airing in almost 100 countries and territories around the world,” Spyridon said.

“And it will now be available for streaming globally on Hulu which will reach another demographic that we don`t normally talk to. There is no way we could reach that many people in that many places for that amount of money in any other manner.”

ECD spokeswoman Carly Schroer said Hulu has 29 million subscribers.

Carly Schroer (photo courtesy of the ECD's official website)

Carly Schroer (photo courtesy of the ECD’s official website)

Having five seasons, Spyridon added, will allow the show to have more than 100 episodes, which will keep reruns of the show in syndication for years.

That, he went on, “may be the single best marketing opportunity we will ever have.”

Schroder said the show has filmed on location at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nissan Stadium, Tootsies, and Bridgestone Arena among several other locales.

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According to TasteofCountry.com, ABC canceled “Nashville” the show because of its ratings, for financial reasons and because it would rather go with other projects.

Schroer said she didn’t know whether the show would cut costs for the fifth season. The state only reimburses the show with taxpayer money afterwards, she said.

“The state will not fully know the show’s budget until it has tendered expenses for reimbursement,” Schroer said.

“Our understanding is the show intends to maintain its talent and production standards, so the budgets will in all likelihood be much the same.”

According to Adweek.com, it’s unclear when the fifth season will premiere.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org 

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