The Country Music Association Awards is one of the biggest music awards shows on television. ABC snagged the franchise in 2006 after a 34-year run on CBS. At ABC, it joined the American Music Awards. Now it is one of three music awards shows on the network, which also resurrected the Billboard Music Awards in 2011. With the biggest awards show on TV, the Oscars, also on ABC, and the network also carrying the Emmys this year, there has been a lot going on at ABC this year as the network also underwent a top executive change, with Channing Dungey replacing Paul Lee, and focused on rebuilding its primetime schedule.
I hear as a result, there was a sense of frustration among the leadership The Country Music Association that its ABC programs, led by the CMAs, were not getting enough attention and support at the network. There was also concern over production issues related to the 2016 CMA Awards. I hear one of the CMA attorneys, Joel Katz of Greenberg Traurig, reached out to the network’s top leadership, including Ben Sherwood, President, Disney|ABC Television Group, to express the associations’ concerns. I hear the outreach had an immediate effect, with all network divisions involved asked to rectify the situation. I hear the friction was worked out, and both sides were happy with how the CMAs came out despite the unfortunate scheduling against one of the biggest baseball games ever, the monster Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, which led to the CMAs hitting an all-time ratings low. Fixing any issues between CMA and ABC is important as the two companies are midway through a 10-year deal.
Here is what CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern said in a statement to Deadline when asked about the alleged recent bump in the association’s relationship with ABC:
CMA values our long-standing partnership with ABC and the tremendous support CMA and the Country Music industry receives from the network. We are looking forward to working with Channing Dungey in her new capacity as President of ABC Entertainment and recognize this as an opportunity to recalibrate and set an even higher bar for our multiple broadcast properties. In fact, this year was a shining example of how powerful and meaningful that relationship can be. The ABC creative team created an inspired and elegant campaign to help promote the 50th Anniversary of the CMA Awards. We had an unprecedented launch for our “Forever Country” music video across multiple ABC platforms including “Dancing With the Stars.” And we had tremendous support from returning partners “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and a primetime Robin Roberts special for the eighth year. There are always ways to improve any franchise, and Country Music and the CMA brand on ABC is no exception, but we are confident in our relationship with ABC and the network’s commitment to CMA.