Lance Smith, host of CMT’s Top 20 Countdown , will be pursuing an acting career and other opportunities when his contract with the network expires in December. He says he reached the decision following several months of analyzing his long-term career goals. Before coming to CMT in 2001, Smith had already spent time in L.A. to concentrate on his acting career. “I’ll continue to pursue a place in front of a mike or camera, but it will be under a different set of lights,” Smith said of his departure from the network. “Once upon a time, before my decade-long stint as a host, I was an actor, and it’s time to wear that hat once again. I will forever be grateful for every chance and opportunity given to me by CMT and country music. There’s not a better fan base in the world. But most of all I will miss the crews — my friends behind the scenes. It’s the show behind the curtain that I was most fortunate to see.” He is already working on the production of an independent feature film. A search is underway to find a new host for Top 20 Countdown. View photos of Lance Smith.