ABC is staying in business with the Country Music Association. The network and the CMA have extended their broadcast deal through 2026. The new, five-year pact will keep the CMA Awards, as well as CMA broadcast specials CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas on ABC.
The deal represents a big commitment to live awards shows, which have suffered ratings declines since the start of the pandemic. ABC and CMA’s current agreement was set to expire this year. ABC has aired the annual awards since 2006.
“Continuing our long-standing relationship with CMA is a top priority and opportunity—together, we bring unforgettable experiences to our audiences that capture the heart and soul of the country music community,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television. “We look forward to delivering many more memorable moments with celebrated icons as well as aspirational artists and are proud to be the home for these incredible and distinguished specials.”
“Over the past 15 years, we have built a true partnership with ABC, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship through 2026,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer. “As television viewers are now consuming content in so many new and exciting ways, we are eager to work with the entire ABC team on creating additional paths to bring country music to audiences everywhere. As our genre continues to evolve and broaden, we look to this partnership as a key driver in expanding country music’s reach.”
The CMA Awards are the longest-running, annual music awards program on broadcast television, having debuted on ABC in 2006. Last year’s CMA Awards delivered ABC’s biggest Wednesday audience this season in entertainment, reaching more than 21 million viewers and generating nearly 9 million social video views across Facebook and Twitter.
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