CMT is proving it can compete with the big networks when it comes to developing reality TV series – their premieres of “Bayou Billionaires” and “My Big Redneck Vacation” on Jan. 21 were the network’s highest-rated original series telecasts in their history. Both series are based on blue-collar Louisiana families getting a new taste of the good life.
“Bayou Billionaires,” follows the nouveau-riche Dowdens, who discovered a natural gas goldmine on their property, like a modern day “Beverly Hillbillies.” The series scored a Nielsen rating of .72 among 18-49 year-olds, and averaged 724,000 viewers among the same audience according to early Nielsen reporting. The premiere of “My Big Redneck Vacation” debuted directly after, following the Clampet family on their summer vacation in the Hamptons. That new reality series earned a Nielsen score of .70 among the 18-49 crowd, and averaged 707,000 viewers in that demographic. The show is hosted by and has commmentary by comedian Tom Arnold.
CMT is also making waves with the third season of their hit dating show “Sweet Home Alabama,” and a brand new show that follows it on Friday nights, “Swanderosa.” “Swanderosa” follows the Swans of San Antonio, who have turned their home into a wedding venue business.
If you didn’t think that was busy enough, brace yourself for even more new series in 2012, which will be CMT’s biggest year ever for original series programming, including two new series already announced: “Melissa & Tye: A New Reality,” starring Melissa Rycroft (“The Bachelor,” “Dancing With the Stars”) and husband Tye Strickland. Also set for a spring premiere is “I Love Jennie,” a new series following Jennie Garth (“Beverly Hills, 90210”).
“Bayou Billionaires” and “My Big Redneck Vacation” air Saturday nights on CMT starting at 9 pm ET. “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Swanderosa” air Friday nights at 9 pm ET. Subscribe for previews, recaps and sneak peek videos for upcoming episodes.