(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
The CMA Awards will move from CBS to the ABC Broadcast Network in November 2006 as the CMA Awards celebrates its 40th anniversary from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. The deal will keep the CMA Awards on ABC through 2012. ABC will also broadcast a major country music special in the summer of 2005.
"Country music is America's music and its value and contribution is undeniable," said Stephen McPherson. president, ABC Entertainment, "Our entire amazing team, including Andrea Wong, Mark Pedowitz and Mark Bracco, went to Nashville on a mission to show the CMA Board of Directors that ABC is the best home for this show. We're committed to making the CMA Awards a bigger television event than it has ever been before, and we're truly grateful to the organization for coming on board and giving us that opportunity. We're thrilled to be able to begin this relationship in the awards' historic 40th year."
"This move by ABC speaks very favorably about the strength and popularity of country music today," said Ed Benson, CMA executive director. "CMA is perhaps the best-known brand in country music, and our television properties, the CMA Awards and the CMA Music Festival, are proven winners. We are thrilled to have been sought after by ABC and we are looking forward to working with them."
This summer, ABC will air "CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party," a two-hour, prime time special that takes audiences not only to the rollicking concerts, but into the heart of the annual CMA Music Festival, held in Nashville June 9-12. The special will air on August 2 at 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET.
The CMA Awards were first broadcast in 1968, making them the longest-running, annual music awards program on network television. The first four broadcasts were on NBC and for the past 34 years, the show has been on the CBS Television Network. Traditionally one of the Top 5 rated specials of the year, more than 37 million people watched all or part of "The 38th Annual CMA Awards" (11.5/18) placing the 2004 November sweeps gala behind only the Academy Awards and in a statistical tie with the GRAMMY Awards.
"Country Music has so much momentum it has truly become today's pop music," said Andrea Wong, executive vice president, Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night, ABC Entertainment. "We've embraced it on shows across the network – 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,' 'Good Morning America,' 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' and 'Nick and Jessica's Tour of Duty' – which all feature hot new talent as well as country legends. Our audience really responds to country music and we're thrilled to deliver it." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane cohen