CMA Extends Contract With Executive Producer Robert Deaton

Pictured (Front row, L-R): Robert Deaton, and Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. (Back row, L-R): Brett James, CMA Board member and owner of Cornman Music and Management; Sally Williams, CMA Board Chairman and Opry Entertainment SVP of Programming & Artist Relations; Greg Ham, The MWS Group Manager & Partner and Robert Deaton Manager. Photo: Christian Bottorff / CMA

CMA has inked a five-year contract extension with the creative mind behind its three network television properties, signing Executive Producer Robert Deaton to an extension this week as he makes final preparations for The 51st Annual CMA Awards. The deal will keep Deaton at the helm of the CMA Awards, CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas through 2021 – the length of CMA’s current deal with ABC.

A two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and director, Deaton has overseen the awards since 2007.

The 2017 CMA Awards will air live from Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 8 on ABC. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will co-host for the 10th consecutive year, and Deaton, Paisley and Underwood serve as three-quarters of the show’s writing team.

Deaton singlehandedly created CMA Music Fest’s television special, shooting the four-day event with his own equipment, editing together a sizzle reel and selling it to ABC. In its 14th year in 2017, the special turned in the network’s highest summertime non-sports show ratings in nearly seven years. Deaton also serves as executive producer of the Billboard Music Awards and directed his first feature-length film, Rounding Third, in 2016. He has more than 500 music videos to his credit.

“Robert has been a visionary leader for The CMA Awards, CMA Music Fest and CMA Country Christmas since he first came aboard,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern said. “He has helped to create three unforgettable network television moments for fans each year, and the tens of millions who tune in annually are a testament to his hard work, dedication and creativity. We look forward to even more over the next half decade from our amazing partnership.”

“My work with the CMA has become a passion for me, something I’m always thinking about,” Deaton said. “We have built an amazing team over the last decade, evolving the show into what it is today. For all these people, the show also is a passion, and I’m beyond excited that we can keep our group together for another five years. Expect something amazing.”


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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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