One of the most poignant moments of the CMT 2003 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards was June Carter Cash's appearance to accept CMT's Visionary Award on behalf of her ailing husband, musical giant Johnny Cash, whom CMT recognized for his five decades of influence and enduring contributions to American music. This year, CMT will permanently rename its prestigious visionary award in honor of the Man in Black, and the newly named award's first recipient will be multi-media superstar Reba McEntire. McEntire will be awarded the Johnny Cash Visionary Award on the live telecast of the CMT 2004 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards on Wednesday, April 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
CMT's Johnny Cash Visionary Award recognizes an artist's extraordinary musical vision, innovative and groundbreaking music videos and pioneering initiatives in entertainment. In her nearly three-decade career, McEntire has shown the world there is nothing she can't do well, whether it's her incredible country music career, starring in the hit television series, Reba, or playing the lead role in Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun. McEntire has sold over 50 million albums, won numerous Grammy, People's Choice, CMA and ACM awards, become a best-selling author, starred in a critically acclaimed Broadway production and held roles in various motion pictures and television series.
In 1986, McEntire released her first music video, "Whoever's in New England," and was the first woman in country music to break away from the pack by using the medium consistently. She went on to harness video's incredible potential, creating groundbreaking videos and showcasing her acting abilities, starring and making guest appearances in over 30 videos to date.
In 2002, CMT awarded the first ever CMT Flame Worthy Visionary Award to the Dixie Chicks -- Emily Robison, Martie Maguire and Natalie Maines -- known for their solid musical talent as well as their music video originality and creativity. Innovators on multiple fronts, the Dixie Chicks launched a whole new wave of popularity for the genre and broadened country music into new and untapped audiences. Last year, CMT honored the incomparable Johnny Cash for his immeasurable achievements and musical vision. Vince Gill hosted the moving tribute and presented the award to Country Music Hall of Fame member June Carter Cash, accepting on behalf of her husband. Cash's masterfully powerful and artistic music video, "Hurt," was a cornerstone in CMT's tribute which featured appearances by stars from across music genres including Bono, the Dixie Chicks and Rosanne Cash.
In its third year, the CMT Flame Worthy Video Music Awards has rapidly become a fan favorite. The CMT 2003 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards premiere was the highest rated telecast in CMT history among viewers ages 18-49. On the 2003 premiere date, more than 8.3 million viewers watched the live awards show and related Flame Worthy programs.