The CMT Flameworthy 2003 Video Music Awards, with a viewing audience dominated by young viewers ages 18-49, has set new ratings records at the network. More than 8.3 million viewers watched the live awards show telecast and related Flameworthy programs on April 7. In addition, the 2003 awards show premiere is the highest rated commercial telecast in CMT history among viewers ages 18-49, eclipsing by +13 percent the previous record that was held by the CMT Flameworthy 2002 Video Music Awards. Driven by young viewers, April 7 was CMT’s most watched day ever among viewers ages 18-49.
“The Flameworthys are always a party, but this show will probably be best remembered for its loud, proud patriotic themes. Sometimes music synchs up perfectly with the national mood. Toby Keith and all of our stars seized the moment, and 8 million CMT viewers were right there with them, millions more online at CMT.com,” said Brian Philips, senior vice president and general manager, CMT.
The evening’s festivities, telecast live from downtown Nashville, awarded country music’s elite for the year’s most outstanding videos. CMT viewers cast more than 3 million votes at CMT’s Web site CMT.com to select their favorites in the 11 viewer-voted categories. The CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards is country music’s only fan-voted awards show and only video music awards.
Co-hosted by Pamela Anderson and Keith, the night was full of surprises and show-stopping performances by Shania Twain , Faith Hill , Kenny Chesney , Tim McGraw , Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow , Alan Jackson , Keith and Rascal Flatts . Surprise guests Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas joined Twain onstage for a remarkable performance of “Forever and For Always,” and Darryl Worley surprised the audience with his performance of his mega-hit “Have You Forgotten?”, a multiple-week No. 1 song that is stirring emotions throughout the country.
“Real music wins again. That’s one for the good guys in my eyes,” Kid Rock said about his Flameworthy performance of “Picture,” his hit country duet with Crow. In its review of CMT Flameworthy 2003 Video Music Awards, The Tennessean called the performance by Kid Rock and Crow “countrier than most country.”
A tribute to the incredible Johnny Cash brought the live audience to its feet. Vince Gill , who hosted the moving tribute, presented the Special Achievement Award to Country Music Hall of Fame member June Carter Cash , accepting on behalf of her husband. A poignant taped tribute to The Man In Black featured appearances by stars from across music genres including daughter Rosanne Cash , U2’s Bono, Kris Kristofferson , the Dixie Chicks , Wynonna , record producer Rick Rubin, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, and video director Mark Romanek.
Appearing with co-hosts Anderson (Baywatch and VIP) and country superstar Keith were presenters Brett Butler (Grace Under Fire), Mo Rocca (The Daily Show), Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show), Brooke Burke (Rank and Wild On), NFL superstar and Tennessee Titan Kevin Carter, and NASCAR racing phenomenon Jimmie Johnson. Country stars presenting awards included Martina McBride , Keith Urban , Deana Carter , Hank Williams Jr. , Trace Adkins , Jessica Andrews , Terri Clark , Chris Cagle and Steve Azar .
Winning the award for Flameworthy concept video of the year, Twain said the recognition is especially meaningful. “Because I make my music for the fans and not the industry, it means the most to me,” Twain said. “It’s the most rewarding when the fans respond that way. It’s the most honest award you can get.”
Other stars walking away with Flameworthy trophies were McGraw, Hill, Keith, Rascal Flatts, McBride and Joe Nichols .
CMT, America’s No. 1 country music network, carries original programming, specials, and live concerts and events, as well as a mix of videos by established country music artists and new cutting-edge acts, including world premiere exclusive videos. Founded March 6, 1983, CMT, owned and operated by MTV Networks, reaches 67.1 million households in the United States.