Featuring performance footage and interviews, Hometown Heroes revolves around the efforts of three country chart-toppers to improve the environments that helped shape their musical upbringing. For Stapleton, that means surprising his former high school in Paintsville, Kentucky, with dozens of new instruments for the band room, as well as constructing an outside performance stage for students. Meanwhile, Rucker heads home to Charleston, South Carolina, where he remodels the teen room at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital. Years before scoring a diamond-selling album with Hootie & the Blowfish’s debut, Rucker spent many hours at MUSC with his mother, who was a nurse. Finally, Eldredge returns to Laker Stadium, the minor-league ballpark near his childhood home in Paris, Illinois, for a long day of remodeling, followed by a surprise show at his high school gym.
Split equally between biography and philanthropy, Hometown Heroes is part of CMT’s ongoing effort to boost its original programming. Sun Records, an eight-part miniseries chronicling the early years of rock & roll pioneers Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley makes its network premiere on February 23rd, while the newest season of Nashville is already underway. A reboot of the 1999 football film Varsity Blues has been in the works since last summer, too, while a second season of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Still the King is due this spring, doubling down on the network’s commitment to rebrand itself not only as a home for country music, but related shows as well.
Hometown Heroes is presented by Ram Trucks and their Ram Nation initiative, with groups of Ram Nation volunteers assisting Stapleton, Rucker and Eldredge in their remodeling projects. (Ram Trucks also presents Rolling Stone Country‘s daily Ram Report video series.)