Hello all!! It's getting closer to the debut of Ray Stevens Nashville. The upcoming talk/variety program is set to debut next Saturday night, November 7th, on RFD-TV. Based on the information the first guest is Steve Wariner. The series is a long time coming and if you've been a fan of Ray's for any length of time, like say, more than 10 years or at least 20 years then you're well aware of how long Ray has sought a television series of some kind. You can research many print interviews or recall any number of television interviews and more than likely at some point Ray's made mention of his hope of having a series on television...at one point in time in his interviews he often mentioned his work on an adaptation of Johnny Appleseed that he hoped to get into production. In the early '90s (1992) he issued a VHS called Amazing Rolling Revue that contained what he described as an unsold pilot for a television series. A couple of years later (1995) he emerged with a direct-to-video movie titled Get Serious! (just recently issued on DVD for the first time). The long held tradition of releasing a movie to theaters and then having it issued on VHS was being challenged given Ray's idea of doing the reverse. He had the idea of issuing a movie on video, first, and then attempting to get theatrical distribution but it didn't come to fruition.
Sometime around 2008/2009 Ray participated in a duet recording of a song called "Retired". The song is about the effects of retirement. Not long after the retirement theme was explored in that duet recording along came Ray and a series called We Ain't Dead Yet!. An unsold pilot, at first, it expanded into an on-line, subscription-based series that ran for about half a year. The series took place inside a retirement home called The Encore. Ray recorded a solo version of "Retired" for his 2009 CD, One For the Road.
A couple of years ago The Nashville Network re-launched as a regional sub-channel and in 2013 the channel brought Ray-ality TV to it's schedule. That half hour series consisted of edited footage of Ray's many video appearances and television performances sandwiched between newly recorded footage.
To re-cap: 1992's Amazing Rolling Revue didn't make it to a series and is only available in it's entirety on VHS and 1995's Get Serious! didn't branch out into a theatrical release; the efforts of We Ain't Dead Yet! and Ray-ality TV certainly come close to Ray's wish of having a continuing television series (at last!) but in each case there wasn't nationally televised airplay and so, as a result, the exposure on a national scale was more or less non-existent.
Last year Ray began issuing YouTube-only clips, also titled Ray-ality TV...referring to them as webisodes. Ray's YouTube series, more or less, featured re-released/edited/re-mixed offerings of just about everything from his video career to that point (footage going back to the early 1990s in some cases!). Performances from his Branson, Missouri concerts (1991, 1992, 1993, and 2010) made their way into those clip-filled installments, too.
All of those prior efforts, including some I didn't get around to mentioning, leads up to this brand new television venture on an even bigger stage than before...it's Ray Stevens' Nashville...and as you can see from the promo/banner the series debuts on November 7th at 7:30pm Central, 8:30pm Eastern...
RFD-TV is available nationally in millions of homes and in terms of potential audience it could bring his series tens of thousands of viewers weekly. If you don't get the channel as part of your regular cluster of programming then call your cable provider and ask for it. I am hoping that the series becomes available at some point on DVD for posterity's sake.