The Academy of Country Music’s annual “ACM Honors” special will air on the Fox network in September, putting the show back on a major broadcast network for the first time in four years. The return to a major network comes as, ironically, its parent show, the ACM Awards, made the switch from broadcast TV to being an exclusive Amazon Prime Video webcast this past spring.
“ACM Honors” will have its first airing on Fox Sept. 13 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT. The special last appeared on broadcast TV prime-time in 2017, when it aired on CBS. In the interim, the show had been seen on cable networks and livestreams, including CircleTV for the 2021 edition.
The special will air almost three weeks after the taping at its longtime home, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, on Aug. 24.
One obvious reason for Fox taking on the special: It’s a chance to further promote the network’s upcoming country-themed drama series “Monarch,” starring Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon, which bows two days earlier, Sept. 11. Adkins will perform his cover of Hank Williams Jr.’s “A Country Boy Can Survive,” set to also be included in “Monarch.”
“ACM Honors” gives out trophies selected by a board and honoring long bodies of work in country, as opposed to the ACM Awards, which are for recordings in the past year and voted upon by the Academy’s entire membership.
As previously announced, the honorees for the 2022 show include Morgan Wallen, who made the most successful album in any genre in the past couple of years, despite generating controversy that landed him in a TV and radio penalty box for much of 2021. With the singer still having only limited TV appearances despite dominating the commercial music landscape, his booking alone will guarantee a certain level of viewer turnout from a fan base that considers him the reigning king of mainstream country.
Also being honored with special awards are Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and the TV series “Yellowstone.”
Among the artists set to perform on “ACM Honors” are Wallen, Wynonna Judd, Kelsea Ballerini, Mickey Guyton, Dierks Bentley, Avril Lavigne, Brooks & Dunn, Dan + Shay, Vince Gill, Lainey Wilson, Little Big Town, Jordan Davis, Ernest, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley and Hardy. More performers are expected to be announced in the run-up to the taping.
“We are thrilled to bring one of our industry’s favorite and most poignant nights back to primetime television and to kick off our first-ever ACM partnership with Fox,” said Academy of Country Music CEO Damon Whiteside. “Being our 15th anniversary show makes the return to television even more special and a great opportunity to bring ‘ACM Honors’ to the fans to experience the admiration and respect that our country community has for its own through emotional tributes and unique performances.”
Whiteside is the show’s executive producer for the Academy of Country Music, and Martin Fischer is executive producer for Opry Entertainment. Ben Roy is a co-executive producer, and Sacha Mueller is the special’s producer. Rob Wade, the president of alternative entertainment and specials for Fox Entertainment, joined in making Wednesday’s announcement.