CMAs Producer on Creating Buzzy Performances by Reba, Kacey Musgraves, Halsey and a Mostly Female Cast

Variety | 11/16/2019 | Chris Willman
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When it comes to the exact drop away mechanics of how Reba McEntire pulled off multiple costume changes on camera at this year’s CMA Awards, only her dresser knows for sure. But longtime executive producer Robert Deaton can at least tell us approximately how many dozen rehearsals went into that performance of “Fancy.” And when it comes to other highlights of the 2019 show, from Kacey Musgraves’ tender duet with WIllie Nelson to Halsey’s hookup with Lady Antebellum, Deaton can also reveal which ideas were his and which he resisted before the star in question successfully sold him on it.

As Variety approached him with these and other burning questions about the telecast, Deaton was in a celebratory mood. With ratings for virtually all awards shows having hit record lows in recent years, country music’s not excluded, overnight reports showed the 2019 CMAs up by 12 percent from last year — an uptick that surely had a lot to do with the well-publicized teaming of Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and McEntire as cohosts, a high-wattage antidote to the epidemic of awards-show hostlessness. Their emergence as a trio coincided with a theme of celebrating women… although that doesn’t mean they won’t be invited back again, if the CMAs next got around to, say, The Year of the Man. Here, he details what went into some of the night’s key moments.

Numbers - Year - Ratings - Day - Feeling

After disappointing numbers last year, seeing these ratings the next day had to be a good feeling.

In this day and age, you know what (awards show) ratings are like, and to be up and to be up as much as we were, makes the next day so good. If I had to pick a year to be up, I would pick this year, so that we could complete our honor of those women....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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