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MTM Enterprises, Inc.
TypeCorporation
IndustryTelevision and film production
Founded1969; 53 years ago (1969)
FoundersMary Tyler Moore
Grant Tinker
DefunctMay 19, 1998; 24 years ago (May 19, 1998)
FateMerged with 20th Television
Successor20th Television
ParentIndependent (1969–1988)
TVS Entertainment (1988–1993)
International Family Entertainment (1993–1997)
News Corporation (1997–1998)
DivisionsMTM Television Distribution
MTM International
MTM Home Video
MTM Records

MTM Enterprises (also known as MTM Productions) was an American independent production company established in 1969 by Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker to produce The Mary Tyler Moore Show for CBS. The name for the production company was drawn from Moore's initials.[1]

MTM produced a number of successful television programs during the 1970s and 1980s. The company's mascot was an orange Tabby cat named Mimsie who appeared in their logo (who was borrowed from a local shelter and then owned by one of the MTM staff, not by Moore and Tinker, who named the cat), inside a circle surrounded by gold ribbons, parodying how Leo the Lion is presented in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo.

All of MTM's shows are now owned by The Walt Disney Company through its subsidiary, 20th Television.

History

For many years, MTM and CBS co-owned the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California, where a majority of their programs were filmed and videotaped. Most of MTM's programs aired on CBS. In 1971, co-founder Grant Tinker was forced to quit 20th Century-Fox Television due to conflicts with how to run MTM, in order to maintain a full-time job at the company.[2] In 1976, MTM teamed up with Metromedia Producers Corporation to start a variety show, a first for first-run syndication.[3]

Tinker oversaw MTM's operation until leaving the company in 1981 and becoming chairman of NBC. Lawyers backing NBC's then-owner RCA convinced Tinker to sell his remaining shares of MTM. Moore and Arthur Price, her business manager and company vice president, bought Tinker's shares;[4] Price subsequently was elevated to president. Tinker later regretted leaving MTM, believing that the company started to decline without him.[5]

In 1986, MTM launched its own syndicated arm MTM Television Distribution, to handle off-net syndication of the MTM shows, and subsequently courted to continue its relations with syndicator Jim Victory to sell off-network rights to MTM's shows like Hill Street Blues and WKRP in Cincinnati, all the way up until the late 1980s as part of a contract settlement.[6] [7] In 1988, MTM was sold to UK broadcaster and independent station for the South and South East of England TVS Entertainment for $320 million.[5]

After TVS lost its franchise to broadcast on the ITV network to Meridian Broadcasting, a number of American companies (and to a lesser extent, Meridian) were interested in acquiring MTM, with Pat Robertson's International Family Entertainment making the first offer.[8] A small number of shareholders, including Julian Tregar, rejected the offer from IFE. In November, TCW Capital made a bid,[9] but withdrew it a few weeks later after reviewing the accounts of TVS.[10] IFE increased its offer to £45.3M, but continued to be opposed by Julian Tregar, who blocked the deal on technical grounds, alleging that the offer was too low.[10][11] IFE finally increased the offer to appease the remaining shareholders,[12][13] and on January 23, 1993, their offer of £56.5M was finally accepted.[14] The deal went into effect on February 1, 1993 (the month after Meridian began its first broadcast).

In 1995, Michael Ogiens, formerly running CBS, as well as his production company Ogiens/Kane Company, joined MTM to serve as president of the company in hopes that MTM would be restored to its independent production glory.[15] The following year, Josh Kane, fellow partner of the Ogiens/Kane Company joined MTM as vice president for the East Coast offices.[16] In 1997, MTM hit layoffs at the syndication unit after the cancellation of the show The Cape.[17]

In 1997, International Family Entertainment was sold to News Corporation, and folded into its subsidiary Fox Kids Worldwide, eventually renamed to Fox Family Worldwide (a joint venture between Fox and Saban Entertainment).[18][19] MTM's library assets however, were transferred over to 20th Television who retained them, even after Fox Family Worldwide was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2001.[20] The Pretender and Good News were both the last surviving shows to be produced by MTM. While Good News was cancelled in 1998 (when MTM ceased operations), The Pretender continued its run until 2000, as 20th Television inherited the show in 1997 (when News Corporation purchased MTM). MTM's library became property of Disney following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.

MTM Enterprises also included a record label, MTM Records — distributed by Capitol Records — which was in existence from 1984 to 1988.[21]

Television

  1. ^ a b c d No longer distributed by 20th Television

CBS connection

MTM programs appeared almost exclusively on CBS until the early 1980s, when Grant Tinker assumed the additional role of president of NBC. Soon, NBC picked up a number of MTM shows, and Tinker stepped down as head of MTM to avoid a conflict of interest. His intention was to leave NBC after 5 years (in 1986) and return to MTM, taking over the reins from interim MTM president Arthur Price. However, Price fired many of the key players in the company's ranks, and by 1986 they had few shows left on the schedules (Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere and Remington Steele were all nearing the ends of their runs, leaving Newhart as the sole entrant on the schedule).

Mimsie the Cat

Mimsie the Cat (1968 - c. June 1988) was a live-action tabby cat seen in the MTM Enterprises logo, in a spoof of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's long-running Leo the Lion mascot.

In the standard version of the logo, as first used on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mimsie appears in a crouched position, looks up at the camera, and meows once. Mimsie would not meow for the camera crew, so they eventually used footage of his yawning, run in reverse, with the sound effect added (the meow sound is done by Lorenzo Music).

By the 1980s, there were many different variants of the logo, with Mimsie often appearing in different painted "costumes" corresponding to the style and theme of the particular programs.

In 2013, an episode of Hot in Cleveland titled "Love is All Around", which starred Betty White and featured Georgia Engel, did an MTM reunion with Moore, Valerie Harper, and Cloris Leachman. At the end of the episode the camera pans to a cat in the window, presumably Mimsie, giving his final meow in an homage to the company's logo.

References

  1. ^ "MOORE, MARY TYLER - The Museum of Broadcast Communications". Museum.tv. 1995-11-26. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  2. ^ "Tinker severs ties with Fox" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1971-01-18. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  3. ^ "Programming Briefs" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1976-06-14. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Tony (July 1, 1981). "Silverman Quits At NBC; Tinker to Succeed Him". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Carter, Bill (November 27, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Tinker Looks Beyond 'USA Today on TV'". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Dempsey, John (1986-09-17). "Victory No Quitter; Hits Road Again With MTM Syndie Spoils". Variety. p. 47.
  7. ^ Daniels, Bill (1986-10-22). "MTM Distribution Raises Curtain On Sales Offices". Variety. p. 457.
  8. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Pat Robertson Buys Parent Of MTM for $68.5 Million". The New York Times. (September 23, 1992).
  9. ^ Second potential bidder for TVS. The Times. (London). November 4, 1992.
  10. ^ a b Evangelist may be sole runner for TVS. Martin Waller. The Times. November 26, 1992.
  11. ^ TVS bid opposed. The Times. December 11, 1992.
  12. ^ Evangelist to lift TVS offer. The Times. January 9, 1993.
  13. ^ TVS dissidents try for a better offer. Martin Waller, The Times. (London). Wednesday, 6 January 1993
  14. ^ Robertson wins TVS. The Times. January 23, 1993.
  15. ^ "Ogiens promises to make over MTM" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1995-12-04. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
  16. ^ "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1996-08-05. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
  17. ^ Hontz, Jenny (March 14, 1997). "Pinkslips for trio of MTM Worldwide exex". Variety. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  18. ^ Peers, Martin; Richmond, Ray; Levin, Gary (June 12, 1997). "Family affair for Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  19. ^ Hofmeister, Sallie (July 17, 1997). "News Corp. Taps Fox Kids' Exec". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "NBC To Reboot 'Remington Steele' As Comedy With Ruben Fleischer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  21. ^ Kingsbury, Paul (2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-1951-7608-7. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  22. ^ Weingarten, Paul. "The Kitten That Roared". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2021-02-25.