Tag Archives: CMT

More ‘Doomsday Garage’ Rolling Our Way

doomsday garageViewers who want more of the jaw-dropping Bugout Vehicles seen on this week’s “Doomsday Garage” show on CMT will be glad to know exec producer Jason Morgan and his team are already in preproduction for a full series following father-son super customizers Zach and Jeff.  They’ll shoot this fall for probable first quarter 2014 debut.

Zach’s and Jeff’s  clients are people who want vehicles they can take off  and live in when natural disasters/terror attacks/economic collapse or other armageddonish circumstances befall us.  They include “a range of people, actually a lot of women – which is something a lot of people wouldn’t expect,” Morgan says.  “The way it’s been explained to me, in the world of preppers, you have people that are off the wall, but then you have regular people who just want to have a good plan and a good structure in place to make sure their family is protected.  And those families are driven by mothers who always want to have a backup plan.

As the producer explains, “You have a range of philosophical differences that lead to a range of vehicles.  You have those who have the philosophy that they don’t want to have to count on fuel, so they’ll  have like a hybrid you can completely customize and ‘Mad Max’ out to go 400-500 miles without a fill-up.”  Another group wants simple, extremely common Chevys, Fords and the like that are easy to find scrap parts for, and “that they can fix with whatever ‘MacGyvers’ they can come up with.”  There are those who want to go by boat, those who want solar panels and water filtration systems in their bugout vehicles to live off the land.  And there are those who want to be ready to take on mobs of thugs and rioters, such as the client who had Jeff and Zach mount a $17,000 50 caliber Browning machine gun on his vehicle, with special apparatus to prevent the very big gun (range: seven miles) from ripping the top off the vehicle when fired.

“Doomsday Garage” takes its subjects seriously, says Morgan, unlike documentaries he’s seen that accentuate the wackiest segment of preppers.  Zach, who has a background with the Marine Reserves, and his father have an wide array of military and other experts they tap for information to create their often futuristic machines.  The producer says doing the show has gotten him thinking.  “I’m originally from Chicago, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 15 years — city born and raised. You kind of take for granted that anyone who thinks this way must be in the flyover states.  But in truth, the more you’re out there listening and learning, the more you think, ‘This is not a bad idea.’  It’s not bad to be prepared.”

No doubt the show, debuting tonight, will elicit all sorts of reaction.

Bill Engvall’s Latest Comedy Series Efforts Yield Mixed Results

bounty hunters animatedBill Engvall is enjoying the positive response he’s getting to his fun new CMT “Bounty Hunters” animated series with Blue Collar Comedy cohorts Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy – but he isn’t holding out much hope for his latest live action sitcom effort.   That’s Engvall’s “Do It Yourself” TBS pilot, and he says, “I’m counting it as out, because I haven’t heard anything.”  Adds the comic and actor, whose “Bill Engvall Show” ran on TBS for three years, “It’s kind of sad because it was a really fun pilot, and it came out really well.”

The pilot, shot this spring, could still get picked up elsewhere, he acknowledges, “which would be great.  It has a great cast and storyline, and I think it could really be successful.”  The premise has him and Ben Rappaport (“Outsourced”) playing a one-time Circuit City executive and a laid-off math teacher, respectively, who find themselves working side-by-side at a big box store – certainly a relatable situation for all too many in this downsized, post-recession economy.

“That’s what I thought, and everybody seemed to like it,” he says.  “But that’s just business.  You never know.  I never count the check until it’s in the bank.”

Bill EngvallMeanwhile, he’s got plenty on his plate.  There’s his ongoing string of stand-up commitments.  There’s another project he has in the works at TNT.  And there’s “Bounty Hunters,” which allowed him and Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy to work together again, despite the fact Jeff’s in Atlanta and Dan’s in Lincoln.”  (Larry the Cable Guy’s given name is Daniel Whitney.)  “We recorded them separately, but you’d never know it.  It would have been nice to have done it with all of us in the same room.  Maybe we can if we do more,” he says, and laughs.  “Try to get those guys out of their comfort zone.  It’s a fun little cartoon.  It came out funny.  You always worry about that – if the script is going to come across.  I think it did.”

Engvall would like to see “Bounty Hunters” springboard him into more voiceover work.  He’s done episodes of shows including “Family Guy” and says, “I enjoy the process.”

He’d really enjoy being back in the live action sitcom game.  “I love doing the stand-up but TV allows me to be home,” he says.  And as for whether he needed time away to recharge after “The Bill Engvall Show” ended, he says flatly, “No.  If they’d have said, ‘We’ve got another one for you starting next week,’ I’d have been there.  I love acting.”

SAD STORY:  As the “Glee” company struggles to come to grips with the heroin death of 31-year-old Cory Monteith, we can’t help remembering just four years ago when the charismatic young performer was new to fame and awash in excitement over his big break.  He could hardly believe he was getting the chance to sing on television, since, as he told this column, “I’ve had zero training whatsoever.  This is the first thing I ever did with singing.  I’ve been a drummer all my life, so I have played music,” he added.  Monteith admitted that the demands of his role – which included more acting than he had originally thought – were a little intimidating at first.  However, even a few weeks in, he said he could tell a big difference with his performing.  “What you feed grows.  What you work on improves,” he noted.  “It’s just gotten better and better….

“For me to now have this platform and to have the opportunities that this show is presenting me is a dream come true.”  What a tragedy that his dreams have been cut short.

janine turnerHELLO, AGAIN:  Janine Turner has wrapped work as Sir Anthony Hopkins’ wife in the 2014 supernatural thriller, “Solace” with Colin Farrell.  The actress, who rose to fame on “Northern Exposure,” has been pouring her energies into writing and political activities in recent years, so it’s nice to see her back before the cameras.  She loved working with Hopkins, whom she found “a brilliant and generous actor as well as a man of great character.”  He plays a retired civilian analyst for the FBI who has psychic abilities and who – of course – gets drawn back into his old world when called upon to help solve a string of murders.  Sharon Lawrence, Abbie Cornish and Jeffrey Dean Morgan also star.

Louie Anderson; ‘Dear Dad’ Best Seller May Be En Route to Stage

Louie Anderson, whose funny, wrenching1991 best-seller, Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child became a touchstone for countless readers coping with alcoholic, abusive parents, is in discussions to bring the work to the stage.

“That’s something no one knows about yet,” reveals Anderson.  It would likely be a one-man show in which he’d “read the letters, perform the comedy, make it current,” he tells us.

The lingering impact of the emotion-charged Dear Dad is such that “as recently as yesterday someone wrote me on Twitter and said how much it had helped them.”  But, he notes, it would be nice to present the material in a new and different way.

Tonight (3/5) Anderson unveils his “Louie Anderson: Big Baby Boomer” standup special on CMT.  “It’s my best work in a long time.  I felt 25 again when I was doing it,” he says of the show — in which he takes on some of the absurdities of his (and many people’s) relationship with food.  “It’s kind of the drug of the new century,” he finds.  “What I try to do is not trivialize it, but talk about what lengths I go to, trying to be a healthier person with less results than I like,” he says.

He feels right at home on CMT, where, he points out, “They have a lot of great comedy.  Jeff Foxwortthy, Larry the Cable Guy — all the Blue Collar stuff.  The group of people who like them are also my fans.  I’m just really thankful that, probably since the beginning of my career I’ve had a lot of country fans, because I have a completely clean show. My first gigs were with Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Glen Campbell, because I had a clean, family-friendly show.  It’s just my style, what I’m comfortable doing,” says Louie, who is the comic in residence at Las Vegas’ Palace Station Hotel.

“I mean, on the rest of the menu of comedy, there’s so much to choose from, you can get your fill of naughty, nasty and ‘Oh, my God, did he say that?!’  It’s just not in my wheelhouse to do that,” he says with a shrug.  “I want you to be able to watch with your kids, your mom and dad, your grandma, those people you know.  You’ve heard a lot of talk lately about how television has gotten nastier.  I still think there’s as big an audience for people who want family-friendly TV.”

CMT President: Obama Plea a Morale Boost for Team Setting Up ‘Music Builds’ Disaster Relief Concert

Hank Williams, Jr.

Barack Obama

CMT has been keeping under wraps President Barack Obama’s appearance on tonight’s (5/12) “Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert” special to aid tornado and flood victims.  But the country music network’s president Brian Philips tells us, “The President was gracious and eloquent and impassioned in his plea for help for this region.  He immediately recognized he needed to be on this show.  That gave us a morale boost.”

The special, from Nashville, is so jam-packed with stars that by Tuesday, Philips says, the executive producer was texting him to say “‘Please don’t promise anybody else they can be on the show.  We are over-booked.”

That outpouring of concern and support is a far cry from last month, when tornadoes killed some 300 people in six states including hardest-hit Alabama, where entire towns were leveled.  “People throughout this vast swath of America were witnessing devastation beyond their imaginations, yet they weren’t getting help.  They were watching news channels and unbelievably not seeing what they expected to see about their home towns. They weren’t sensing that they were the topic of news coverage.  Unfortunately, for the most part, they weren’t,” Philips recounts.

Emails poured in to CMT asking for help, with “viewers coming to the logical conclusion, ‘Let’s get someone at CMT to get the cameras on this.’  It’s a first and it is a fact,” he says.  “It was an eye-opener.”

Brian Philips

Philips says that there has been a lot of conversation amongst those involved in “Music Builds” about these unique circumstances, about “how it felt seeing the royal wedding being played for the fifth time, knowing the extent of the damage and the lost lives just to the south of us.  Nature pays no attention to the news cycle,” he adds.  “Nature doesn’t care that there’s a royal wedding, or that the U.S. has mounted a spectacular surgical strike and taken out Bin Laden.”

Hank Williams, Jr., was among the many who tuned in to the news, “took a look at the very minimal TV coverage coming in from Alabama, and was dumbstruck,” says Philips.  The singer “got really fired up about this, and has been one of the busiest people, getting it going.  He’s an amazing character, a great addition to anything CMT does, he brings such color and enthusiasm and credibility, as well as brilliant music.”

Country music elite the likes of Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Alabama and Ronnie Dunn have been quick to commit to the special.  “It’s just a reflexive reaction with our stars to help at times like this.  It’s the easiest call you’ll ever make,” says Philips.  “They’ve all had to change around their schedules.  It’s the start of tour season, busy for everyone.”

Show forces are getting help from Hollywood and New York as well, he says.  “I think you’ll be very surprised at the level of people who gave us special footage for this affair.”

He acknowledges, “Certainly CMT can’t take full credit for it.  We’re part of the MTV Networks Music Group — that’s done the Katrina benefits, Hope for Haiti.  And we did the Jimmy Buffet Gulf Shores concert.  People often look to us to bring artists together and stage these sort of events in a timely manner.”  Crews have been shooting B-roll packages this week in tornado and flood-ravaged areas.

With The CMT Music Awards coming up June 8, Philips says there is some overlap with production and crew people “who are doing both things.   They’ll have to be taken out in straight jackets before this is over.  They’re getting no sleep,” he says.  Still, “There’s nothing like the energy of things like this when they’re produced in the heat of the moment.  You’re running on adrenaline, and it’s magic when people say, ‘Guess who’s coming?’  ‘Guess who’s given us a great piece?’ and you realize you can make a difference and use the channel for good.”

Proceeds from the event are going to the American Red Cross.