|Industry||Television and Film production|
|Founders||Mary Tyler Moore|
|Defunct||May 19, 1998|
|Fate||Folded into 20th Century Fox Television|
TVS Entertainment (1988-1993)
International Family Entertainment (1993-1996)
News Corporation (1996-1998)
|Divisions||MTM Television Distribution|
MTM Home Video
MTM Enterprises (later known as MTM Enterprises, Inc.) 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.
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.
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; Price subsequently was elevated to president. Tinker later regretted leaving MTM, believing that the company started to decline without him.
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 it, with Pat Robertson's International Family Entertainment making the first offer. A small number of shareholders, including Julian Tregar, rejected the offer from IFE. In November, TCW Capital made a bid, but withdrew it a few weeks later after reviewing the accounts of TVS. 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. IFE finally increased the offer to appease the remaining shareholders, and on January 23, 1993 their offer of £56.5M was finally accepted. The deal went into effect on February 1, 1993 (the month after Meridian began its first broadcast).
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). MTM's library assets however, were transferred over to 20th Television and was retained by them, even after Fox Family Worldwide was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2001. Good News and The Pretender were the last surviving shows to be produced by MTM. Good News was cancelled in 1998 (when MTM ceased operations), but The Pretender continued its run until 2000, as 20th Television inherited the show in 1997 (when MTM was purchased by News Corporation). MTM's library became property of Disney following their acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.
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).
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 her 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. For the detective series Remington Steele, a Sherlock Holmes-esque stalking cap and pipe (that fell out of Mimsie's mouth when she meowed) were added; Bay City Blues had an animated version of Mimsie wearing a baseball hat and baseball glove and catching a baseball; Lou Grant, Paris, and Just Between Friends showed a still image of Mimsie's footage; The White Shadow featured a different black-and-white cat bouncing an orange basketball; Hill Street Blues painted a police uniform hat onto Mimsie's head; St. Elsewhere used a surgical mask and scrubs; The Texas Wheelers had a full-screen black-and white kitten looking around and meowing and (for the final episode) had an animated version of the kitten staggering from behind a wagon wheel and dropping dead; Graham Kerr painted a chef's hat onto Mimsie's head; Carlton Your Doorman the logo is drawn animation-like and Carlton's cat Ringo is seen and says to him to meow but doesn't meow, Carlton mutters "Damn cat..."; Xuxa had Mimsie say "Tchau!" (which means "goodbye" in Portuguese); A Little Sex featured an animated gray cat joining an animated version of Mimsie after she meowed before the two cats purred by rubbing their faces at each other; in contrast, Newhart kept the original, unadorned footage, but replaced (except for the series pilot) the meowing sound effect with Bob Newhart's voice-over of "meow" in his trademark deadpan style, and in the series finale is saying "QUIET!", uttered by Darryl & Darryl (their first and only word). The Duck Factory had (right before the logo) an off-screen voice shout, "Where's the Cat?", and then used the original footage, replacing Mimsie's meow with a "Quack!". On The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, "Today I am a Ma'am", Mimsie did a higher-pitched meow, and on the episode "Put on a Happy Face", Moore herself was shown stating the Looney Tunes end line, "That's All Folks!". In the series finale of St. Elsewhere, Mimsie is shown unconscious and dying on-screen, hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor and medical equipment; as the credits roll the heart monitor beeps and then as the credits end the heart monitor flatlines marking the end of ''St. Elsewhere'' and Mimsie's death. Coincidentally, Mimsie died shortly after the airing of the episode at age 20. Syndicated prints of this episode replace this variant with the normal credits. An extended version of The White Shadow variant can be shown on rare prints of the pilot, featuring the logo animating and the cat watching the ball fall off-screen.
In 2013, an episode of Hot in Cleveland, 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 her final meow in an homage to the company's logo.