Disney Reportedly Nearing $22 Million Deal for CMA Awards

The CMA Awards have been airing on ABC every November since 2006, and Disney, ABC's parent company, is nearing a deal to keep the annual awards show on the network for several years to come, according to The Wrap. Disney is reportedly close to finalizing a $22 million-per-year deal that would keep the CMA Awards on ABC in an agreement that carries a license fee of at least $22 million a year for a multi-year contract, according to two individuals familiar with the deal.

The deal was reportedly possible because Disney can draw on funding from Hulu and Disney+ in addition to ABC, Disney will use streaming services Hulu and Disney+ to support the awards show with additional shoulder programming around the event. ABC declined to comment and CMA did not respond to a request for comment and the deal is not yet completed, though an announcement is expected to be made next week. The 2020 CMA Awards were hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker and were held without an audience inside Nashville's Music City Center. Nominees and performers sat at small tables throughout the venue and some performances were pre-taped.

The show drew a record-low 7.1 million viewers, which was the first time it failed to hit double-digit numbers. The show has lost around half of its audience since 2017, when it pulled 14.3 million viewers, and from 2019 to 2020 lost four million viewers, going from 11.3 to 7.1 million. The show's biggest numbers over the past several years came in 2013, when the CMAs brought in 13.3 million viewers.

Meanwhile, the ACM Awards, one of country music's other major awards shows, might soon be looking for a new television home. The Wrap reported earlier this week that CBS, which has been airing the show since 1998, did not accept a demand of $22 million a year to license the 2022 ACM Awards, which are scheduled to make a return to Las Vegas in April after taking place in Nashville in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Show producer Dick Clark Productions is now reportedly "scrambling" to negotiate a new deal. Two individuals with knowledge of the negotiations say that CBS declined to counter the $22 million demand, which was above the previous $20 million annual cost for the show.

Like many awards shows, the ACMs have experienced a ratings decline over the past few years, though the show's numbers were fairly steady prior to 2019. The 2021 awards in April brought in a record-low 6.3 million viewers, and the 2020 show, which was delayed from April to October, saw a then record-low of 6.8 million viewers. In 2019, the ACMs drew 9.9 million viewers, its lowest number since 2007.