Dolly Parton has been named as the host of the Academy of Country Music Awards, set to be streamed live March 7 on Prime Video from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Parton’s last and only time hosting the ACM Awards was 22 years ago, in 2000. The country-pop superstar does have other country awards show hosting credits on her resume, though; she co-hosted the rival Country Music Association Awards in 2019 with Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood, and handled that CMAs job solo once back in 1988. As almost inarguably the most beloved figure in country music, and maybe in music generally, Parton is prime, so to speak, hosting material.
More details about the March 7 show were announced Thursday morning by the Academy of Country Music, MRC and Prime Video. The show will be two hours long, instead of the three it lasted for most of its long tenure as a major-network broadcast event. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be that much less action packed in: In its new home on Amazon’s streaming service, it will run without commercial interruptions.
It’s a big week for Parton news. Wednesday, the singer was named as a first-time nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also Wednesday, the South by Southwest Film Festival announced that she’ll appear in one of the fest’s more anticipated documentaries, “Still Working 9 to 5,” for which she has recorded a new duet version of the song “9 to 5” with Kelly Clarkson.
In previously announced news, Parton will be putting out a new album, “Run, Rose, Run,” on March 4 — three days before the ACMs — and a novel of the same name she co-wrote with James Patterson will arrive on the day of the awards show.
The announcement about Parton’s hosting news added that additional co-hosts would be revealed in the weeks to come. The nominations for the awards are due next week.
“We are honored to welcome Dolly Parton back to be the centerpiece of this landmark 57th Academy of Country Music Awards show at Allegiant Stadium,” said Damon Whiteside, the Academy’s CEO. ” Dolly is the most iconic and multitalented artist of all time, and we are proud that she is a friend and supporter of the Academy, a previous host, and a 13-time Academy of Country Music Award recipient. There is no one better than Dolly to represent the ACM Awards brand and country music on a global scale as we move to streaming and show the world that ‘this is how we country’ by delivering one of the most exhilarating and innovative shows in our history to audiences worldwide.”
Since Parton has a one-year hosting stint with the ACMS in 1980, the role having been filled in successive years by Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban in solo or tandem combinations. Last year’s ACMs co-hosts, for the show’s apparently final year on broadcast television, were Urban and Mickey Guyton.
There will be many firsts for this year’s show, and not even limited to the move to Prime Video or a two-hour time slot. Its home at the new Allegiant Stadium is a first, and marks only the second time the ACMs have taken place at a stadium, after a one-time detour to Dallas’ AT&T Stadium in 2015 for the show’s 50th anniversary. People in the TV and music industries following the Grammys’ postponement saga will no doubt be watching closely how the ACMs show goes, as it will precede by nearly a month the Grammy Awards taking place in Las Vegas, albeit with the Recording Academy’s delayed kudos taking place at a smaller venue, the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The ACMs are regarded as the first major awards show to make the move to a streaming platform. The show will be seen on Prime Video March 7 at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT. Tickets to see the show live at Allegiant Stadium are currently on sale via Ticketmaster.
“Dolly Parton’s status as a beloved and inspirational icon is a testament to her ongoing impact as an artist, philanthropist, and human being,” said Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios. “Amazon is excited to create 360-degree entertainment experiences and engagement with fans that continue beyond the credits rolling in what is sure to be the most fan-centric event of the year.”
CBS had previously been the longtime home of the ACMs, but last year, after contract renewal negotiations reportedly came to a dead end, the ACMs moved on to a deal with Prime Video, and ViacomCBS upped the CMT Awards from a show that normally would bow on the titular network to an event that would be seen live on CBS first. The CMTs was just announced as now taking place in Nashville on April 11, after being bumped from a previously scheduled airdate April 3. The CMT Awards’ move into April this year instead of June was seen as aggressively moving into the month that the ACMs have long been held. The Academy of Country Music responded just as aggressively by bumping up this year’s show into March instead of its usual April — as well as going bigger, footprint-wise, with the move to a stadium setting.
The 57th Academy of Country Music Awards show is being produced by MRC Live & Alternative. Not everything about the show is new, as a couple of longtime players return to their roles, with R.A. Clark and Whiteside back as executive producers.