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NAB: The Nashville Network Eyes New Verses as Digital Broadcast Network

4/16/2012 2:03 PM Eastern

The Nashville Network is looking to resurface as a broadcast digital service in late summer.
Luken Communications and Jim Owens Entertainment are looking to revitalize The Nashville Network -- the former cable network that was owned by CBS Cable -- as a purveyor of current and vintage country music and lifestyle service. The parties are looking to revive the service as digital broadcast network, with an eye toward a late September bow.
Matt Winn, vice president of Luken Communications, which operates such services as Retro Television, My Family TV, TUFF TV, PBJ, MyCarTV and Frost Great Outdoors, said representatives from his company and Jim Owens Entertainment are holding affiliate discussions at NAB in Las Vegas. "We're talking to executives from station groups and independent stations and hope to lay in a base of affiliates for a late September launch, before having a full lineup by year-end," said Winn in an interview
Programming will combine digitally restored classic content pulled from the vaults in Nashville with contemporary shows of today, creating an experience that will bring delight to country music lovers of every generation. The network's new lineup is expected to include shows like Memories of the Grand Ole Opry, Crook & Chase, Celebrity Kitchen, The Country Vibe, Music City Tonight, and Larry's Country Diner, among others.
Winn said Jim Owens Entertainment Inc. reacquired the trademark and the logo to The Nashville Network in 2010-11. That company produces programming for classic country shows and specials featuring the genre's legends, including the nationally syndicated country news and entertainment show Crook & Chase and the weekly radio staple The Crook & Chase Countdown. Lorianne Crook and Charlie Case are in Las Vegas as part of The Nashville Network's NAB affiliate initiatives.
The Nashville Network, along with CMT, were owned by Gaylord Entertainment, which produced much of the content for the channels through Opryland Productions. The services in 1997 were sold for $1.5 billion to then CBS-owner Westinghouse Electric Corp., which formed CBS Cable along with the start-up called Eye on People.
When Viacom purchased CBS Corp. in 2000, it retained CMT as its country music service and converted The Nashville Network to a pop culture-tinged, general-entertainment network called The National Network.

That service morphed into the male-targeted Spike three years later.

September