GAC and Grand Ole Opry sign long-term agreement

Contrary to some speculation earlier this fall, it seems the relationship between the television station GAC and The Grand Ole Opry is being strengthened.

It seems the Opry is GAC’s highest rated show and they are developing more programing around it. They signed a multi-year agreement which includes increasing the number of live Opry shows each year. This can only be a good thing for bluegrass as the televised portion of each Opry show usually showcases a couple of bluegrass acts.

Here’s the press release.

Broadcast Deal Includes Plans To Develop More Opry-Related Programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 9, 2005) Television network Great American Country (GAC) and the Grand Ole Opry have signed a multi-year agreement which extends GAC’s broadcast rights of its highest rated program, Grand Ole Opry Live. The agreement is the broadest yet for the two partners, providing GAC broadcast rights for an increased number of new Grand Ole Opry Live shows every year of the agreement plus plans to develop several new Opry-related programs going forward.

“GAC’s ability to showcase different genres of country music allows us to create new programming centered around the biggest brand in the industry, the Grand Ole Opry,” said Ed Hardy, president of the network. “We already know how popular Grand Ole Opry Live is with country music fans, with viewership continuing to grow. And over the last eight weeks, the response to GAC’s Opry Month programming and our joint effort with the Opry on the Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, Country Reaches Out, has proven these viewers have a strong appetite for more.”

According to Nielsen Media Research, on a year-to-year basis, GAC is the number one fastest growing cable network adding 11,380,000 subscribing households from October 2004 to October 2005 for a total of almost 40 million subscribing households. The network is available in all of the top 50 markets and nationwide on DirecTV.

“Grand Ole Opry Live on GAC has been beneficial to the network, the Opry and country music, overall,” said Steve Buchanan, senior vice president for media and entertainment for Gaylord Entertainment. “The Opry has been a catalyst for GAC’s rapid growth, which in turn has broadened the Opry’s reach and given country music another showcase from coast to coast. As pleased as we are with this growth, we’re even more excited about opportunities to expand our partnership even further with new Opry programming as well as marketing and promotional opportunities across Scripps’ family of networks.”