CMT launches reality TV push with ‘Dog and Beth: On the Hunt’

Written by
Cindy Watts
The Tennessean
Dog and Beth Chapman, famed television bounty hunters, are back with a vengeance in an all-new, 10-episode series on CMT. ‘Dog and Beth: On the Hunt’ will debut at 7 p.m. April 21. / Larry McCormack / The Tennessean
CMT has installed a billboard for its new reality show, ‘Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,’ where Broadway splits into West End and Hillsboro Road. / Shelley Mays / The Tennessean

On CMT

• “Dog and Beth: The Preview Special” will air at 7 p.m. today.
• “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt” will debut at 7 p.m. April 21.
In their new CMT show “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,” Dog and Beth Chapman travel from one bail-bonds/bounty-hunting business to the next teaching the owner/operators the right way to do everything from paperwork to the safest ways to track down criminals who jump bond.
CMT president Brian Philips says, in a way, Dog and Beth feel somewhat responsible for the rash of amateur bounty hunters because it was their original show “Dog the Bounty Hunter” that inspired the current crop to go into the business.
“It’s (a criminal’s) right to get out of jail,” says Dog, himself a felon. “The United States says the bail is a continuance of their imprisonment. So when I, as a bail bondsman, get them out of jail, I’m there to babysit that guy. He’s not free to do what he wants to do. … Now that we know how to make it work, we’re going around the country and training. I meet these kids who say, ‘Hi Dog, I’ve been watching your show since I was 13.’ I thought, ‘Wow, he’s an adult now.’”
Philips says that like their previous show on A&E, the new show still includes the chase as well as the peptalk Dog gives each of his targets after they are apprehended where he encourages them to make better choices.
“I think that idea is not just a CMT idea, it’s universally appealing,” Philips says. “Who doesn’t need a second chance to get things right?”
Jayson Dinsmore, executive vice president of development at CMT, explains: “You see a journey over the course of the hour with a takeaway for the audience. Meanwhile, you still have the hunt, so you still have that thing that drives you through the hour because you have to stick around to see if they catch the bad guy.”

LAS VEGAS — Two of the newest Nashville-connected celebrities, Duane “Dog” Chapman and Beth Chapman, sit conspicuously in a dimly lit bar inside the Bellagio in Las Vegas, scanning for Elvis impersonators and, just like on TV, bickering — this time about Dog’s hair.

She calls him the golden, mulleted one.

“Don’t touch my hair,” he says gruffly as Beth reaches over to pick at his blonde mane. “I didn’t even brush it today.”

The famous reality TV bounty hunter then abruptly turns his attention away from his wife and says, “We have a billboard in Nashville. Have you seen it? Do you have a picture of it on your phone? I haven’t seen it.”

Though they live in Hawaii, the Chapmans — who starred in A&E’s hit “Dog the Bounty Hunter” for eight seasons — are poised to be some of the newest Nashville-connected celebrities. Their new show “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt” debuts on Nashville-based CMT starting April 21. The two already have plans to visit Music City for June’s CMA Music Festival.

The show — which features the couple traveling around the country training bail enforcement agencies on how to conduct their criminal captures and run their business — will anchor the network’s aggressive plan to have four nights of original programming by 2016. CMT currently has one night of original programming.

“It’s a bet for us,” says Jayson Dinsmore, CMT executive vice president of development. “We have put a tremendous amount of time and effort and money into the show and the marketing campaign, and we’re placing a big bet. We think it’s a game changer.”

The station is banking on the fact that their viewers “like to live life on their own terms and play by their own rules” and will relate to those same characteristics in Dog and Beth.

In addition, CMT president Brian Philips says he’s never met a bigger star than Dog and he’s hoping that star power will provide the network an opportunity and platform to find and successfully launch other series.

“We aspire to have shows like ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ” Dinsmore says, of the reality TV cable hit about a Louisiana family-operated business centered around duck-hunting calls.

Philips says CMT beat out several other stations, including major networks, for the new “Dog” series, and Dinsmore says that its acquisition has led their network to try to build a roster of crime-related shows to block together. To that end, they recently purchased a repackaged version of “Cops” called “Cops Reloaded” and created specific guidelines to help them find more shows they feel will appeal to their audiences.

New CMT series “Guntucky” is one of those shows. Set to air April 21 following “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,” “Guntucky” is a reality series about several generations of a Kentucky family that owns and operates a gun range.

“It’s really good, and it’s a half-hour workplace comedy,” Dinsmore says. “It’s a very, very family-friendly show.”

But it’s “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt” that Philips believes makes the biggest statement about the network.

“We’re playing in the major leagues of cable development and I think ‘Dog’ puts an exclamation point on that,” he says. “We’re really starting to roll right now.”

In addition to “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,” tonight at

7 CMT will air “Dog and Beth: The Preview Special” — a two-hour show the Chapmans taped themselves after their run on A&E and before they signed with CMT. The footage takes viewers into the midst of the family drama that threatened their bounty-hunting business as the series was ending on A&E. The Chapmans believe the special bridges their past A&E series with CMT’s.

“It’s emotional because we’re close to it,” Beth Chapman says. “We just felt like our fans really deserved to see what happened after it all ended and where we stand now.

 

see the rest of the story plus video at http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130414/ENTERTAINMENT04/304140023/CMT-launches-reality-TV-push-Dog-Beth-Hunt-?nclick_check=1

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