Country Music Television was part of the wave music-video cable channels that came online early in the 1980s. The channel launched in 1983, three years after MTV and two days before competitor The Nashville Network went on the air. CMT's focus in the beginning was on music videos, in contrast to The Nashville Network, which included more non-performance lifestyle programming.
In 1991, CMT was purchased by Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of Opryland USA, the Nashville-based country-music-themed amusement park. In 1997, Westinghouse, parent company of CBS, bought both CMT and The Nashville Network. In 1999, Viacom, the new owner of CBS, merged CMT and TNN with its MTV Network channels, completing the consolidation of the original music-video channels from the 1980s into a single entity.
The adoption of CMT into the MTV family brought programming changes that pulled the channel into line with the other MTV channels. Music videos became much less prominent, and the schedule expanded to include lifestyle series, reality series and movies. All of the programming, however, is targeted toward fans of mainstream country music.