Anthony Mackie and Kelsea Ballerini will host the CMT Music Awards

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In the once-cable-only show’s first year as a primetime TV masthead, the CMT Music Awards will have country star Kelsea Ballerini returning as a co-host, joined this year by actor Anthony Mackie, CBS announced Thursday.

Ballerini takes on the hosting duties for a second consecutive year. In 2021, she co-hosted with fellow country star Kane Brown, who was then in her second year in the role.

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Mackie, best known for his roles in Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ franchise, most recently as the co-lead of Disney Plus limited series ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ is a surprise pick to host a national awards show. , although he had it presented with an award on last year’s TV show.

The CMT Awards have mostly been hosted by country music personalities in recent years, but the show has a long history of bringing in actors to share the duties. Sarah Hyland co-hosted with Brown and Ashley McBryde in 2020; prior to that, Brittany Snow, Kristen Bell, Pamela Anderson and Kathy Najimy had been drafted at various times.

The networks also said the nominations will be revealed on March 16, just under a month before the show’s air date. It will air on CBS April 11 at 8 p.m., live on the east coast and delayed on the west.

The announcement comes three days after Ballerini appeared on the Academy of Country Music Awards show, where she performed a duet with Dolly Parton on one of the host’s new songs. It’s the country awards show that aired on CBS until 2021, but is effectively replaced on the network by CMTs, who are described in a statement as “the signature country music tentpole of Paramount”. (ViacomCBS changed its name to Paramount Global in February.)

“We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pair one of country music’s biggest names with one of the world’s most electrifying superheroes to host our greatest CMT Music Awards ever.” , said executive producers Margaret Comeaux, John Hamlin and Leslie Fram in a joint statement. “Kelsea and Anthony are each wildly successful and, combined, bring mega star power that transcends the worlds of music, film and pop culture with an oversized fan base. We know this dynamic duo is the perfect couple to take our show to the next level as we reach our largest global audience ever to air live on CBS.

Joining these three as executive producer this year is Ballerini’s manager Jason Owen of Sandbox Entertainment.

The ACM Awards broadcast aired on CBS until 2021, but the two parties failed to agree on a deal to renew their deal. That’s when the ACMs bought their show shopping — eventually ending up with Amazon’s Prime Video for a streaming-only, non-broadcast webcast — and what was then ViacomCBS elevated an in-house show that had previously ran on CMT and other MTV networks to be its flagship network’s new national kudocast. A game of musical chairs occurred with the lineup, as the CMT Awards, which traditionally aired in June, were postponed to April; the ACMs which previously aired that month, later moved their broadcast to March.

The CMT Awards show was originally announced for April 3, but another CBS show, the Grammys, took over that slot after being delayed from January, and the CMTs were pushed back eight days. The telecast will be based at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, with performances remote from other locations, having long had the much larger Bridgestone Arena as its home ground. No performer has yet been announced.

The CMTs differ from the other two major national awards, the ACMS and the Country Music Awards, in that they are not organized by a membership organization that selects the honors, but are voted for by fans, among appointments decided internally at the CMT.

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