Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini Return As Hosts Of ‘CMA Fest’ ABC Special

Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini are returning to host CMA Fest, the Music Event of Summer, with Bobby Bones as special guest host. The three-hour primetime concert special, which brings country music’s ultimate fan experience to a national TV audience, airs Aug. 4 at 7 P.M. CT on ABC.

“This year’s CMA Fest offers something for every music fan,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “From surprise collaborations to some of country music’s most exciting emerging and legendary talent, we’re excited to bring the festival to millions of fans around the world later this summer.”

Filmed during Nashville’s annual four-day CMA Fest June 6-9, the TV special features more than 30 performances and surprise collaborations on stage at Nissan Stadium. 2019 marks the 16th consecutive year of the broadcast, a feat no other U.S. music festival has achieved. Last year’s broadcast generated ABC’s top summertime non-sports ratings, leading ABC to the most-watched network that night according to Nielsen Media Research.

“‘CMA Fest’ is always the summer’s must-see music event with the biggest names in country music,” says Rob Mills, ABC Entertainment Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming. “With Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini returning for their third year and Bobby Bones joining them as special guest host, we know this summer’s festival will knock it out of the park.”

Thomas Rhett returns to host CMA Fest for a fourth year, first co-hosting the special in 2016, while Ballerini returns for a third year. Ballerini takes the Nissan Stadium stage to perform this Thursday, June 6, while Thomas Rhett performs Friday, June 7.

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About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and 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 lhollabaugh@musicrow.com.

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