Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert Set for 2018 CMT Artists of the Year

Annual special will honor the women of country music, including Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini

For the first time in its eight-year history, the CMT Artists of the Year special will be dedicated entirely to honoring country music’s women of the past, present and future. Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott are the honorees. The special, which features collaborations and additional guests to be announced at a later date, airs Wednesday, October 17th, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CMT.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the 2018 CMA Awards nominations, which included no women among the Entertainer of the Year nominees and similarly lacked any nods in the Single or Song of the Year category by solo women.

CMT, which launched its “Next Women of Country” franchise in 2013, has also announced that, to encourage and inspire increased radio airplay for women, viewers and listeners on October 17th will experience a day-long “Women of Country Music” takeover across the networks platforms, including CMT, digital channel CMT Music, and CMT Radio’s syndicated shows CMT Radio LIVE and CMT After Midnite.

“This year, we’re evolving the special to reflect what’s happening right now in culture and in the lives of our fans,” said Leslie Fram, CMT’s Senior Vice President of Music & Talent, of Artists of the Year. “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.”

Since debuting in December 2011, during a special hosted by actor Rob Lowe, CMT’s Artists of the Year has honored dozens of each year’s most successful acts in country music. Last year’s honorees were Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.