CMT has slated a tribute to the late Kenny Rogers that will feature at-home performances and interviews with friends and celebrants including longtime duet partner Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill and others, to air April 8 as a benefit for the MusiCares organization’s COVID-19 relief fund.
Others participating in “CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares” will inclue Michael McDonald, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, the soon-to-split Rascal Flatts, Randy Houser and more.
The special will premiere April 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CMT, with a repeat showing April 11 at noon. It will also show again on MTV Live April 10 at 8.
The appearances by Rogers’ friends and acolytes will be filmed at home, as has become the custom in these shelter-in-place weeks. The new performances and interviews will be supplemented by archival clips.
“Kenny Rogers transcended genres and generations with his musical versatility, legendary collaborations and timeless appeal, and we’re honored to pay tribute to his legacy,” Margaret Comeaux, the show’s executive producer and CMT’s VP of production, music & events said in a statement. “Particularly in these turbulent times, we’ll stop and take a moment to allow the memory of our dear friend Kenny to bring us together and inspire us to lend support to those in the music community who are most in need.”
The CMT special will be part of a week-long-plus series of tributes to Rogers occurring across multiple networks. Preceding the CMT telecast by three days will be the “ACM Presents: Our Country” special this Sunday on CBS, which will include tributes to Rogers by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker.
“Biography: Kenny Rogers” will premiere on A&E April 13 at 9 p.m. ET, as previously announced. On April 6, the AXS network will pay tribute to the late singer by airing two classic concerts, including the 1989 special “Kenny, Dolly And Willie: Something Inside So Strong” and the 1985 special “Kenny And Dolly: Real Love.”
During the CMT special, viewers will be asked to donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund set up by MusiCares, a branch of the Recording Academy that supports musicians and industry pros in need.
“The resilience and strength of the country music community is heartwarming,” said Debbie Carroll, VP of health and human services for MusiCares. “Our deepest gratitude to the Rogers family and CMT for designating MusiCares as the beneficiary of this broadcast. Their support will help the thousands of music professionals in need of assistance with rent, utilities, food and other basic necessities. I’m proud to call Nashville home and I’m so fortunate to be a member of this community.”
Viewers can support CMT’s efforts as the broadcast unfolds by visiting musicares.org/kennyrogers and texting KENNYCARES to 41444 to contribute. If you are a member of the music industry and in need of assistance, visit musicares.org.
“Our heartfelt thanks to CMT and the Kenny Rogers estate for supporting MusiCares during these unprecedented times,” said Steve Boom, MusiCares Chair. “Donations from the broadcast will benefit thousands of music creators and industry professionals in desperate need of support. Kenny was very philanthropic throughout his lifetime, and that legacy continues to lives on.”
The show is part of the “CMT Giants” franchise started in 2006, with previous honorees — all living — including Reba McEntire, Hank WIlliams Jr. and Alan Jackson.