NBC, People’s Choice Awards create separate country music show

Country music is nearing its fourth major annual awards show. NBCUniversal announced Thursday that a program honoring the nation’s favorite artists will be spun off from its People’s Choice Awards with a two-hour television show titled “People’s Choice Country Awards” airing in September on the NBC network and the Peacock Streaming broadcast service.

The event’s venue is the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, which was used by the Academy of Country Music Awards as a venue for a number of years during the pandemic, but has historically never been the primary ongoing venue for Kudocasts. The partnership is a result of Opry’s parent company, Ryman Hospitality Properties, which reached an agreement in April 2022 to sell a 30% stake in its entertainment business to NBC Universal and investment firm Atairos.

NBCUniversal bills the new show as “the only award show for the people and by the people.” It will be the only country awards show voted entirely by fans. The CMT Music Awards (which announced their annual nominations just a day earlier) also describe themselves as fan-voted, but CMT executives make the initial selection of nominees internally, leaving subsequent rounds to the fans.

Not every winner will be made public; NBCUniversal said several honorary awards would also be presented during the September ceremony.

“We’re excited to partner with the Grand Ole Opry to bring the biggest country music celebration of the year to Nashville,” said Cassandra Tryon, senior VP of live events at NBCUniversal Television & Streaming, in a statement. “Country fans love their music and there’s no better place to host this event than on country music’s greatest stage.”

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The show is produced by Den of Thieves and has Jesse Ignjatovic, Evan Prager and Barb Bialkowski as executive producers.

No specific date beyond September has been announced for the premiere of the new show.

Of the three existing major country awards shows on the calendar, the closest thing to the People’s Choice Country Awards is the CMA Awards, which always lands on ABC in the first half of November. The other two shows are both coming in the spring. CBS now has The CMT Music Awards, which will air from Austin in April, and the ACM Awards have been moved to a May live stream on Prime Video from the Dallas area.

Of course, country artists also have many other trophy opportunities throughout the year, including the Grammys, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, and the mothership show People’s Choice.

The People’s Choice Awards show takes place in December and traditionally presents an award for the most popular country artist. Three months ago, that fan-voted honor went to Carrie Underwood from a field of eight. Categories for the new show have not been announced.

This isn’t the first time that four major country awards shows have been vying for the attention of Music Row and music lovers throughout the year. Fox had its own bid to get in on the country action for a while with the American Country Awards from 2010 to 2013, followed by the American Country Countdown Awards in 2014 and 2016, both long gone.