“The 50th Annual CMA Awards” airs live Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 8|7c on ABC-TV. Country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood preside over the evening, returning as hosts for Country Music’s Biggest Night. The 2016 event promises spectacle, accolades and countless special moments as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards.

The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by the more than 6,300 industry professional members of CMA, which when established in 1958 became the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music. The first CMA Awards Banquet and Show was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards was broadcast on NBC television for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television. The show aired on NBC through 1971 and on the CBS Television Network from 1972 through 2005 before moving in 2006 to ABC, where it is set to air through 2021.




Returning as co-host of “Country Music’s Biggest Night™,” Brad Paisley is Country’s veritable jack of all trades. Not only is he an amazing vocalist and guitar slinger – he’s also an accomplished filmmaker. He’s been inspired by many legends, and has himself become one of the greats. His latest album, Moonshine In The Trunk, dropped last August after Brad debuted each song on Twitter.

“I really think that the CMA Awards are a very special thing in our town,” said Paisley. “When they say it’s ‘Country Music’s Biggest Night™,’ it is. It’s the biggest night of ratings that we ever get. The reason that I think it has worked is because we both take it so seriously that we’re ready when we walk out there.”

Paisley is No. 5 on the list of all-time top CMA Award winners with 14 Awards to his credit:

CMA Horizon Award (now the New Artist Award) (2000)
CMA Entertainer of the Year (2010)
CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (2007, 2008, 2009)
CMA Album of the Year (2006 for Time Well Wasted)
Three-time CMA Musical Event of the Year (2004 with Alison Krauss for “Whiskey Lullaby,” 2006 for “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, and 2009 for “Start a Band” with Keith Urban)
CMA Vocal Event of the Year (2001 for “Too Country” with Bill Anderson, George Jones, and Buck Owens)
Three-time CMA Music Video of the Year [2002 for “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” 2004 for “Whiskey Lullaby” (with Krauss), and in 2007 for “Online,” 2008 for “Waitin’ on a Woman” (featuring Andy Griffith).


Following her victory as the 2005 “American Idol,” Carrie Underwood made her first appearance on the CMA Awards premiering the powerful and heartfelt “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” Since then, Underwood has gone on to co-host the CMA Awards with Brad Paisley, and she returns to the now-familiar role in 2016.

“I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are extremely excited to be back hosting the CMA Awards,” said Underwood. “Each year we work harder so that we can help present the best show possible.”

Underwood has won five CMA Awards to date:

CMA Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) (2006)
CMA Female Vocalist of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008)
CMA Single of the Year (2007 for “Before He Cheats”)


At its inception in 1967, the CMA Awards trophy was designed to resemble a chart bullet. Constructed of a rich walnut and a sturdy marble base, the trophy signified the strength, durability and warmth of the genre. A brass music note adorning the center read “Best Liked World Wide,” CMA’s slogan at the time. The limited supply of walnut wood in 1983 encouraged a transition to crystal, the material still used today. With the update arrived a new medallion in the center that has been modified only slightly since.

Today’s 15-inch, 7.5-pound trophy is a stylish, high-value adornment made of hand-blown fine crystal in Florence, Italy, with final assembly by Francis & Lusky in Nashville, Tenn. The CMA logo appears on a tri-level, die-struck medallion in polished bronze. After the CMA Awards winners have been revealed live on the annual broadcast, the award is engraved with the winner’s name and CMA Awards category.


Similar to the Oscars and the Grammys, the CMA Awards are voted on by members of the industry. Members of the Country Music Association are music executives, artists, publicists, songwriters, musicians, touring professionals and more from all around the world.

CMA Awards winners are chosen in three rounds of voting. Votes are cast by industry professional members of the Country Music Association – meaning Awards winners are honored by their peers in the music industry.

Awards criteria, rules of election and balloting procedures are established by CMA’s Board of Directors. Singles, albums, music videos and qualified music products for the annual show must have been first released during the eligibility period, which for the 2016 show is July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016



CMA Awards winners are chosen in three rounds of voting. Votes are cast by industry professional members of the Country Music Association – meaning Awards winners are honored by their peers in the music industry.

Eligibility Period: July 1, 2015, through
June 30, 2016