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FOX to launch American Country Awards

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Just what television needs: another awards show.

Fox is set to announce Monday that it will launch a country music awards telecast. The two-hour American Country Awards will premiere December 6 live (on the East Coast) from Las Vegas.

With ACAs coming to Fox, American TV is about to get a lot more than a little bit country. Two of Fox's broadcast rivals already have country music awards shows of their own: CBS' Academy of Country Music Awards and ABC's Country Music Awards.

That's on top of CMT's Country Music Television Awards, which is the highest-rated program on the cable channel, and "CMA Music Festival," an annual three-hour ABC special that essentially is a country music awards show minus awards.

By adding another twangfest, Fox is betting that country music is burning hot enough to sustain the new entry. ACA will attempt to differentiate itself from the other shows by having the fans vote for the winners. The executive producer of the program is Bob Bain, who runs the Teen Choice Awards, another viewer-driven awards show for Fox.

After years of decline, there seems to be renewed faith in awards shows given the resurgence of several key franchises, including the Grammys, which rocketed to 26.6 million viewers this year, up more than 7 million from 2009. It didn't hurt that country-pop starlet Taylor Swift was the big winner.

Is the genre so robust that it can sustain four shows? Country album sales dropped 9.1% during the first half of the year, compared with the year-ago period, but that's a softer slide than other categories. There's no shortage of such star attractions as Swift and Lady Antebellum, who have grown big enough to enjoy crossover appeal beyond country enthusiasts. Country music also has dodged the doldrums that are cutting into revenue on the concert circuit.

Perhaps the biggest question is whether it makes sense to schedule the ACAs in early December, just weeks after the CMAs might have satisfied country fans (The American Music Awards, dominated last year by Swift, also take place in late November).


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I like award shows and especially when Shania was in the running for one.  I'm missing that now!!



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It's never the greatest sign when the highlight of an awards show is the joke about country artists withering away if they don't all get together every few weeks.

But that wasn't going to stop one-woman juggernaut Carrie Underwood from ringing in the inaugural American Country Awards with a leading six wins, including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Play On and Single of the Year by a Female Artist for "Cowboy Casanova."

"We have had the most amazing year out on the road," Underwood said in thanks, collecting the final bright, shiny Fender Stratocaster (the ACA trophy of choice) of the night.

"Of course, we wouldn't be doing anything if it weren't for the people sitting out there in that audience, so to everyone that came out to see us and anybody else out here—you guys are awesome," she concluded, a nod to the fans who decided on each and every award handed out tonight.

Underwood's other honors included Female Artist of the Year, Touring Artist of the Year and Music Video of the Year by a Female Artist for "Cowboy Casanova."

Lady Antebellum, the six-time Grammy nominee of the bunch, was next in the field with four wins, including Group/Duo of the Year and, all for "Need You Now," Single of the Year, Single of the Year by a Group/Duo and Music Video of the Year by a Group/Duo.

"First and foremost we want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of our heart to the fans," exclaimed Lady Antebellum's only lady, Hillary Scott.

Alas, the winning trio and Underwood remained mum as far as performances went, perhaps resting their pipes after what's already been a long country-music award season.

The CMAs (or ACMs, or CMTs) it wasn't, but 'twas a valiant effort for the only country-music award show that couldn't get Kid Rock.

As basso-profundo host Trace Adkins promised, the inaugural ACAs contained way more performances than anything else, with most trophies being doled out before the cameras started rolling.

And with only two hours to do the broadcast honors, the artists just went ahead and performed the songs they won for, mercifully killing two birds with one stone.

Adkins and Blake Shelton shared Music Video of the Year (overall and by a Male Artist) honors for "Hillbilly Bone," with Adkins opting to speak for his duet partner, even though Shelton's name was first on the ballot.

"He'd like to thank his label, Warner Music, Miranda, country radio, God and me," Adkins deadpanned, wisely putting Shelton's fiancée, Miranda Lambert, before himself.

Florida native Easton Corbin was named Breakthrough Artist of the Year and, as he was inaugurated as the first ever American Country Award winner with not an acceptance speech but a quick Q&A with Nancy O'Dell, it flashed onscreen that "Little More Country Than That" had been named Single of the Year by a Breakthrough Artist and Music Video of the Year by a Breakthrough Artist.

(Which is not to be confused with Best Single and Best Video by a Female Artist, a Male Artist, a Duo or Group or just Single and Music Video of the Year in general. Yikes, that's thorough!)

Rascal Flatts was presented with the Decade Award for their glut of No. 1 hits in the '00s, and Alan Jackson was honored with the Greatest Hits Award.

"I love America, and country music has always been America's real music," the relatively elder statesman said. "And I'm just so honored to be a part of it for all these years."

Here's the complete list of winners from the first-ever American Country Awards:

Artist of the Year: Carrie Underwood
Male Artist of the Year:
Brad Paisley
Female Artist of the Year:
Carrie Underwood
Duo or Group of the Year:
Lady Antebellum
Breakthrough Artist of the Year:
Easton Corbin
Album of the Year:
Play On, Carrie Underwood
Single of the Year:
"Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Male Artist Single of the Year:
"Why Don't We Just Dance," Josh Turner
Female Artist Single of the Year:
"Cowboy Casanova," Carrie Underwood
Duo or Group Single of the Year:
"Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Breakthrough Artist Single of the Year:
"Little More Country Than That," Easton Corbin
Touring Artist of the Year:
Carrie Underwood
Music Video of the Year:
"Hillbilly Bone," Blake Shelton with Trace Adkins
Male Artist Video of the Year:
"Hillbilly Bone," Blake Shelton with Trace Adkins
Female Artist Video of the Year: "Cowboy Casanova," Carrie Underwood
Duo or Group Video of the Year:
"Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Breakthrough Artist Video of the Year:
"Little More Country Than That," Easton Corbin
Decade Award: Rascal Flatts
Video Visionary Award:
Toby Keith

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Looks like the show pretty much bombed in the ratings!

American Country Awards broadcast draws few young fans; 'Too much of a good thing?'

Weak TV ratings don't necessarily mean show that premiered on Fox will be counted out

By Anita Wadhwani • THE TENNESSEAN • December 8, 2010

Ratings were weak for the inaugural, fan-voted American Country Awards show that premiered on the Fox TV network Monday night, dashing high expectations by producers of the show that it could capitalize on the network's success in drawing a large and young music fan base.

Instead, the show drew just 6 million viewers overall, and only 1.5 percent of the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic that Fox was seeking.

The two-hour program fell far behind ESPN's Monday Night Football and trailed NBC-TV's a cappella singing show The Sing Off by a wide margin.

ACA producers did not respond to a request for comment, but Bob Romeo, executive director of the Academy of Country Music, said that the numbers were clearly bad news.

"I can't imagine they are going to be overly thrilled with those numbers," said Romeo, whose trade organization has presented the Academy of Country Music Awards for 46 years. That awards show aired on CBS in April and drew more than twice as many viewers as Monday night's program in which singer Carrie Underwood took home Artist of the Year.

The live awards show made its debut in a field already crowded with established country music awards shows

In comparison to Monday night's broadcast, the CMA Awards drew 16.5 million viewers last month (a 4.7 percent share of the youth audience) for ABC-TV.

The similarly named Academy of Country Music drew 13.1 million viewers in April (a 3.2 percent share of 18- to 49-year-old audience), landing CBS the No. 1 spot on the Sunday night that it aired.

Yet another show, CMT's awards (broadcast in June), set a record for the cable network, drawing 20 percent more viewers than the previous year. The Viacom media conglomerate owns the CMT network.

"It does beg the question: 'Is it too much of a good thing?' " said Rich Melin, vice president and brand engagement director for Bohan Advertising in Nashville. "Does the consumer make the distinction?

"My sense is that advertisers are going to want to see much more (in) the future, if they're going to continue to support this. They're not going to be satisfied with the audience they had last night."

New shows take time

One bad outing (and a ratings bust) doesn't mean the new awards — broadcast from Las Vegas — can be counted out for good, others said.

"When you jump in, and it's a new show, it takes a while," Romeo said. "I think they're going to have to take stock in what they did this year, and where they need to go next."

By comparison on Monday night, ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast drew 17.9 million viewers; while NBC's The Sing Off scored an average 8.5 million viewers.

The country music awards show did get more eyeballs than ABC-TV's Skating with the Stars, a spinoff from the popular Dancing with the Stars. The celebrity skating program attracted 4.8 million viewers.

The Tennessean


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