CMA Extends Relationship With ABC Through 2026

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(L-R) Kacey Musgraves, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Nettles, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Lily Tomlin onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 2, 2016 in Nashville.

The CMA Awards are the longest running annual music awards program on broadcast television.

ABC has extended its broadcast agreement with the Country Music Association (CMA), solidifying the network as the home of The CMA Awards, as well as CMA-branded broadcast specials CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas, through 2026.

The CMA Awards have aired on all three legacy networks (as have the rival Academy of Country Music Awards). The CMA Awards launched on NBC in 1968 and remained there for four years. The show moved to CBS in 1972 for a remarkable 34-year run, extending through 2005. It has aired on ABC since 2006.

“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, CEO of the CMA, in a statement. “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.”

“Continuing our long-standing relationship with CMA is a top priority and opportunity,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, unscripted and alternative entertainment, Walt Disney Television, in a statement. “Together, we bring unforgettable experiences to our audiences that capture the heart and soul of the country music community.”

The CMA Awards are the longest-running annual music awards program on broadcast television. The show first aired three years before the Grammy Awards became a live telecast in 1971. The rival ACM Awards first aired in 1972.

ABC is also the long-time home to two other major award shows. It has aired The Oscars every year since 1961 (except for a five-year interruption from 1971 to 1975 in which NBC aired the show) and the American Music Awards every year since it debuted in 1974.

Last year’s CMA Awards delivered ABC’s biggest Wednesday audience this season in entertainment, reaching more than 21 million viewers, according to ABC. The network also claims that the show generated nearly 9 million social video views across Facebook and Twitter.

ABC programming can also be viewed on demand and on Hulu.