CMT artists of the year show goes all-female, spotlighting Carrie, Miranda and Maren

Last year, CMT took some flack for having an all-male lineup for the network’s annual Artists of the Year honors. This year, there’s some serious course correction going on. The honorees set for the 2018 telecast Oct. 17 are exclusively women, including Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini. Even the mixed-gender bands being celebrated are being awarded only for their female co-frontpeople — Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, and Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town.

Take that, bros.

CMT’s move comes amid an ongoing controversy over the lack of women on country radio that is threatening to stretch from years into decades, with recent statistics showing the drought is only getting worse. The Artists of the Year lineup is hardly CMT’s first attempt to address the imbalance; the network has had a Next Women of Country initiative to promote rising female artists on the air and on themed tours.

The honorees from last year’s show that will not be returning — and who may want to start preparing their gender-bias legal briefs now — include Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and Chris Stapleton.

“In this monumental year for women, dedicating one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only solidifies our commitment, but we hope will spark a much-needed change in the industry,” said CMT senior VP Leslie Fram in a statement. Fram is the leading force behind Next Women of Country and, outside of her CMT duties, is outspoken as a co-founder of Change the Conversation, a Music City org devoted to training a spotlight on sexism in the country music industry.

All of the women getting accolades from CMT this year are returnees, with the exception of Morris, who’s risen to country’s top ranks on the strength of one superior album. Underwood and Ballerini were last on the show in 2016, Little Big Town were honored (as a group) in 2015, Lambert appeared on the telecast in 2014, and Lady Antebellum’s lady is returning for the first time since 2011.

The show will air live from Nashville Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, tape-delayed for the west coast for the same time slot. Additional performers have yet to be announced. Last year’s show, retuned at the last minute to pay tribute to the Las Vegas festival shooting victims, scored record high ratings for the eight-year-old franchise.

Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!

42 PHOTOS
CMT Awards 2018: Red carpet arrivals
See Gallery
CMT Awards 2018: Red carpet arrivals
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Carrie Underwood attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Carrie Underwood attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Kelsea Ballerini attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Jason Aldean and Brittany Kerr attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Kelly Clarkson attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Caroline Boyer and Luke Bryan attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Lauren Alaina attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Cassadee Pope and Blake Shelton attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Kristian Bush (L) and Jennifer Nettles of musical group Sugarland attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Brittney Marie Kelley, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, and Hayley Hubbard attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: (L-R) Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, Brian Litrell of Backstreet Boys attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Hoda Kotb attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Garrett Hedlund attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: (L-R) Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, and Philip Sweet of Little Big Town attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Jack Rucker and Darius Rucker attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Chrissy Metz attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Dierks Bentley and family attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Lindsey Vonn attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Nico Tortorella attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Morgan Evans (L) and Kelsea Ballerini attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Brooke Hogan attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Luke Bryan attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Cassadee Pope attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Mason Ramsey attends 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Brandon Stansell attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Chris Lane attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Earl Dibbles Jr. attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Trent Harmon (L) and Kathleen Couch attend 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Summer Duncan (L) and Jon Pardi attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Stephanie Quayle attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: RaeLynn attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Meghan Linsey attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Doug the Pug and guests attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Kaitlin Doubleday attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Luke Pell attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Nico Tortorella and Bethany Meyers attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Kane Brown attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Joel McHale attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Leon Bridges attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Carly Pearce attends the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.