Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley big winners at CMT awards; Swift closes show with Def Leppard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Taylor Swift opened the Country Music Television awards with a skit about living out her dreams. The 19-year-old country and pop sensation went a long way toward doing just that by winning video of the year and female video of the year for "Love Story" and by performing with one of her favorite rock bands. "I want to thank Shania Twain for always making such theatrical videos, and Garth Brooks for always putting the fans first. I take my cues from you," Swift said Tuesday in accepting video of the year honors at Nashville's Sommet Center. "I thank the fans for giving me video of the year when my whole family is here watching." Swift won the fan-voted award over Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman," Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This," Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream" and Sugarland's "All I Want to Do." Her "Love Story" video is an elaborate production with period costumes that echoes the story of Romeo and Juliet. "This is for everybody who still believes in love stories, because I do," Swift said earlier in winning female video. She closed the awards show by performing "Pour Some Sugar on Me" with the British rock band Def Leppard. Brad Paisley was the night's other big winner, taking home awards for male video ("Waitin' on a Woman"), collaborative video ("Start a Band" with Keith Urban) and performance of the year (Alan Jackson's "Country Boy" with Jackson, George Strait and Dierks Bentley). "Start a Band" features two youngsters playing the "Rock Band" music video game. Paisley and Urban urged young viewers to learn to play. "Learn guitar kids — the real thing," Urban said. "'Rock Band' never got anybody a date — never," Paisley added. In his acceptance speech for male video, Paisley thanked TV's Andy Griffith, who passes on some wisdom to a younger man in the video. "He has changed my life in so many ways, and to be on film with him you can imagine what that would be like," Paisley said of Griffith, who Continue Reading

Inner Tube: CW will take us back to Tara Conner on CMT’s ‘Gone Country’

Tara Conner is going from disgraced Miss USA to "God Bless the USA" on the new season of CMT's "Gone Country." The 2006 beauty queen joins "American Idol" runnerup Justin Guarini, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton, pop singer Taylor Dane, Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz, musician Sheila E and actor Richard Grieco for the series' third season. "Gone Country," hosted by singer/songwriter John Rich, features celebrities competing to create a hit country single. Production is underway in Nashville and the show will premiere in January. Dots all ... CBS' Scott Pelly and his crew got roughed up in China while trying to record the black-market dismantling of electronic waste. They were jumped by a gang of men overseeing the operations who tried to take the cameras. The CBS folks got away, and Pelley's report airs Sunday at 7 on "60 Minutes." ... WPIX/Ch. 11's Irv (Mr. G.) Gikofsky will speak before tomorrow's luncheon for the 11th Annual Dial-A-Teacher Parent Conference at the New York Hilton. Speaking of Ch. 11, the station will air the New York Jets-New England Patriots game set for Thursday at 8 p.m. Also at Ch. 11, next week on the "CW11 Morning News," the station will have a "Chef Week" stunt with each of the on-air folks offering up a dish. Tuesday, for instance, Tiffany McElroy offers up mini- burgers and baked sweet potato fries. ... CBS/Ch. 2's Cindy Hsu hosts tomorrow's 36th Annual Promise Ball fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at the Waldorf-Astoria. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Hogan to pin down ‘celeb champ’ on CMT

Hulk Hogan will host a new reality show this fall on CMT. "Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling" will feature 10 celebs training and competing for the title of "champion." "I'm excited to have this opportunity," said Hogan in a statement. "As I looked at the sports-entertainment landscape, I realized it was time to shake things up. The audience is ready for something different." The eight-episode series will include wrestling challenges, elimination matches and "emotional" hurdles. Eric Bischoff, former president of World Championship Wrestling, and a to-be-named guest will join Hogan as judges.Cristina Kinon Dots all ... Damon Wayans is returning to ABC as the star of its comedy pilot "Never Better," playing a guy trying to be a good husband and father despite his somewhat misguided attempts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, Piper Perabo and Andie MacDowell are joining another ABC pilot, "Prince of Motor City." ...Michael Rosenbaum is leaving CW's "Smallville" after seven seasons with the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rosenbaum, who plays Superman nemesis Lex Luthor, will be replaced by two new villains. "It is time for me to start the next chapter of my life and career," Rosenbaum said. A statement from "Smallville's" executive producers hinted that Rosenbaum might appear as a guest in the upcoming season....Sen. Hillary Clinton presents the Top 10 list on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" tonight at 11:35. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus to share stage at CMT Music Awards

NASHVILLE - "Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, will host and perform at this year's CMT Music Awards."Miley and I are so excited to be hosting the CMT Music Awards," Billy Ray said. "We know it will be a fun-filled night with a lot of great music performances." The seventh annual awards show airs April 14 on CMT from Belmont University's Curb Event Center. Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Sugarland and Toby Keith will also be among the performers. Miley's dad made it big on the pop charts in 1992 with his hit "Achy Breaky Heart." These days, the 46-year-old plays Miley's father on the 15-year-old actress-singer's "Hannah Montana" TV show. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New York gal gets her chance to howl on CMT’s ‘Coyote Ugly’

Tanea Renee tried out for CMT's reality competition "The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search" on a whim, thinking they'd never pick her for the show. "I looked at the promo, and oh, there's no black girls here, maybe one, so I thought, no, they're not going to call me," Renee told the Daily News. Well, they did. The 31-year-old New York City resident will be seen trying out for the famed saloon's traveling performance team when the "Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search 3" launches Friday night at 8 on CMT. "I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance, and I wanted to do both together," said Renee. This season, the women live together in Denver while competing for a spot with the traveling group and $50,000. Until she tried out, Renee had been making the rounds of auditions for musicals. For the past several years, she's been trying to make a living in New York. Before the auditions, she hadn't visited the New York Coyote Ugly. The spot, founded by Lilianna Lovell, is best known for attractive bartenders who dance on the bar. Getting on the show was a whirlwind, Renee said. She was working a temp job when she got a call; soon after, she was on her way to Denver. "It was nerve-racking," she said. "You don't know these girls. And for me, I'm always thinking about being the only minority." Renee said she didn't go on the show to further her acting career - it was more about a shot at the cash. She wanted to pay off some school loans and help her mother. She can't say exactly how she fared in the competition, but it's clear she's not a huge fan of the Coyote concept. "I felt like I compromised a few things while I was there," she said. "I've never done that before. I've performed in front of thousands of people. Being on top of the bar is an intimate thing. I have never been so nervous as the time Lil said, 'All right, Tanea, get up on the bar.' That was a horrific feeling." She was concerned about the impact left by beautiful women dancing on bars. And she Continue Reading

CMT drops Miss America Pageant

LAS VEGAS - The Miss America Pageant has been dropped by Country Music Television, leaving the 86-year-old pageant without a TV outlet for the second time in three years.The Viacom-owned network, which had rights to air the pageant through 2011, notified the Atlantic City, N.J.-based organization that it will not exercise its option to televise the contest "in 2008 and beyond," the cable network said in a statement issued to The Associated Press on Thursday.Pageant officials said they've begun the search for a new TV home."We are embarking on discussions with potential new television partners to further expand our new marketing efforts and to ultimately broaden our viewership," pageant head Art McMaster said in a statement.The news is another blow for an American institution that has struggled to find a place in modern popular culture. After 50 years on network television, ABC dropped Miss America in 2004 when ratings fell to a record low. CMT picked up the pageant, moved it to Las Vegas from its home in Atlantic City and updated its look with reality-TV elements. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading


HEE HAW MARATHONStarts today at 5 p.m., CMT 3.5 StarsSome TV shows have a look, style and rhythm so unusual - or so downright goofy - that you just stop and stare. "The Simpsons" or "South Park" at first struck many viewers that way. "Hee Haw" probably still does, as viewers of CMT can confirm when a marathon of vintage "Hee Haw" kicks off today. "Hee-Haw" was conceived in 1969 as a vehicle for country music, which was enormously popular on the radio and in regions like the South, but had never cracked national television. Country's biggest obstacle, then as now, was image. It was considered unsophisticated, the kind of twangy sound that conjured visions of a guy in overalls with hay between his teeth. The producers of "Hee Haw," in a brilliant move, decided fighting that image would be futile. Instead, they went the other way: Let's take the stereotypes and magnify them. Let's have the overalls-and-hay guy lean on a pitchfork outside the barn. "Hee Haw" was light years away from standard TV musical variety shows. The performers leaned back on a porch patting a bloodhound, or stood in a cornfield, which also yielded all the show's hokey jokes. But behind these trappings, which themselves became a joke any discerning viewer understood, "Hee Haw" did several things that were truly smart. It preceded MTV by a dozen years in setting a fast pace. A song, a joke, a sketch, another joke, another song. There were also gorgeous girls, blonds and brunettes in straw hats and tight cutoff bluejeans. It's hard to remember what they did. The girls themselves you wouldn't forget. The show's big weapon, though, was the music. Its regulars included Buck Owens, Roy Clark and Grandpa Jones, so it had a pretty solid base right there, and it brought in a couple of big guest stars every week. As much as any variety show in history, "Hee Haw" presented the best of its music. CMT's marathon, with seven episodes from 1969 to 1991, confirm that point. Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood shows off amazing post-baby body at 2015 CMT Awards

She had a baby when? Carrie Underwood looked so incredible on the red carpet at the 2015 CMT Awards, that it's hard to believe she had a baby in February. The new mom showed off her toned body in a form fitting, white Thomas Wylde mini dress with sparkly embellishment clusters, making this her first post-baby body red carpet appearance. She paired the outfit with a small clutch and silver strappy heels. CARRIE UNDERWOOD LEADS 2015 CMT MUSIC AWARD NOMINATIONS It isn't much of a surprise that the "Blown Away" singer's body bounced back so quickly considering she focused on continuing her healthy eating habits even when she was pregnant. "I have been vegetarian for about 10 years now," she explained to Yahoo Beauty when she was pregnant. "With pregnancy, I am definitely going more on the vegetarian side, but as soon as I am not pregnant anymore I will go back to being vegan. I don't think I am craving anything too crazy. I try to keep it as healthy as possible and try to take care of myself." Underwood and her husband Mark Fisher are parents to an adorable 4-month-old baby boy, Isaiah Michael Fisher. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood leads 2015 CMT Music Awards nominations

Carrie Underwood is the top contender for the 2015 CMT Music Awards with five nominations. CMT announced Wednesday that Underwood scored two nominations for video of the year with the Grammy-winning “Something in the Water” and “Somethin’ Bad,” her duet with Miranda Lambert. Underwood also earned two nominations for female video of the year with “Something in the Water” and “Little Toy Guns.” Twelve videos are nominated for video of the year. Contenders include Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean. Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney, also video of the year nominees, have four nominations each. The CMT Music Awards will air live on June 10 from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Tickets go on sale Saturday and voting starts Wednesday. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Billy Ray Cyrus to play Elvis Presley impersonator in CMT’s ‘Still the King’

A late-night glimpse of a Pentecostal church while he was walking his dog inspired country singer Billy Ray Cyrus to dream up a television series that the CMT network said Thursday will become part of its schedule early next year. Cyrus will star in the comedy, “Still the King,” as Vernon Brown, a one-hit country star turned Elvis Presley impersonator who becomes a minister at a country church outside of Nashville. CMT also is planning a docuseries on “American Idol” singer Kellie Pickler and her marriage, a coming-of-age documentary involving a group of friends in small-town Florida, a series starring YouTube prankster Ed Bassmaster and a late-night talk show with Josh Wolf, a former sub on Chelsea Handler’s E! Entertainment network show. The network announced its plans for the next year in a meeting with advertisers in Manhattan on Thursday. “Still the King” puts CMT back into business with Cyrus, daddy of Miley and frequent presence on the network when his “Achy Breaky Heart” was a hit two decades ago. “We built bridges around the world together in the early ‘90s, places where country music hadn’t been or hadn’t been for a long time,” Cyrus said in an interview. “Getting together again with CMT was very exciting.” One night when his tour bus made a gas stop on the Gulf Coast, Cyrus walked with his dog and began thinking about how Elvis Presley performed in the area at the start of his career. He saw a church in the distance, and things came together in his mind when the bus ride resumed. “I was sitting there with a notebook scribbling out idea after idea,” he said. “It didn’t take long to realize that there’s a thought here that’s interesting, that’s funny, that’s smart, that’s dumb — all of those things.” Since Cyrus is a country singer with a career of ups and downs and Continue Reading