Producers of the Academy of Country Music Awards have settled on a new date for the live CBS telecast, landing on Sept. 16, pushing back the ceremony five months from its originally scheduled April 5 perch.
Notably, the announcement from the ACM and Dick Clark Productions said that the venue would be revealed soon along with an initial list of performers, indicating that the show may not necessarily take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, as it has for years and was scheduled to again next month.
The declaration of the new date comes eight days after the ACM revealed the show would have to be put off due to the coronavirus crisis, and four days after the org announced that a replacement show would air on CBS in the original April 5 time slot — “ACM Presents: Our Country,” a two-hour show that will combine at-home acoustic performances with clips from five decades of prior ACM Awards shows.
Besides the new Sept. 16 date, the only thing firm in the announcements so far about the postponed show is that Keith Urban remains on as host, a first-time gig for the 15-time ACM winner and recipient of the 2018 entertainer of the year honor.
The uncertainty of the venue for the rescheduled show poses some interesting questions. Even if coronavirus-related travel concerns have abated by September, it seems possible that many of the genre’s Nashville-based stars might rather stick closer to home this year than head to Las Vegas for a giant party. And it’s unlikely the ACM could or would replicate the days of festival-style events that have traditionally led up to the awards in Vegas. Then again, the Vegas locale (or Los Angeles, going further back) has long been a strong selling point that sets the show apart from the Nashville-set CMA Awards, which now are set to take place a mere two months after the ACMs.
Among those with three or more nominations for the 2020 ACMs, as announced Feb. 27, are Maren Morris, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Old Dominion, Justin Bieber (eligible because of his participation in a hit Dan + Shay single), Luke Combs, Lambert, Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Kacey Musgraves and producer Dann Huff. The five entertainer of the year nominees are Church, Combs, Rhett, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood.