The Country Music Association’s Music Festival Switches Daytime Stars

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NBC daytime fans’ loss is ABC daytime fans’ gain


Colin Egglesfield (Josh, All My Children)For the past six years, the Country Music Association (CMA) has partnered with NBC Daytime to host a dozen or so stars of Days of our Lives and Passions as the soap opera contingent during the CMA Music Festival, originally called the CMA Fan Fair.   Days and Passions stars like McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan, Passions) and Kyle Lowder (ex Brady, Days; Brad, As the World Turns), sang, danced and signed autographs in Nashville for the festival and had a blast. 

In 2003, prior to the third consecutive partnership between the peacock network and the CMA, CMA officials couldn’t have been more delighted to be building upon this growing relationship.

"The NBC Daytime stars really get immersed in the event and are such a big hit with the fans that we are thrilled to have them again," said CMA Executive Director Ed Benson in March 2003. 

"The response from Country fans to the NBC Daytime stars has been overwhelming. Country fans are huge fans of both 'Days' and 'Passions' and the actors are huge fans of Country Music," said CMA Senior Director of Strategic Marketing Rick Murray. "We are also very excited to add the 'After MidNite' promotion this year. Listeners will be able to learn more about Fan Fair and hear what is going on behind the scenes of 'Days' and 'Passions' directly from the actors. The chance to win two prizes - a trip to Fan Fair and a walk-on role on 'Days' - is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Murray added, "We have been honored to have NBC Daytime as a partner over the past three years and look forward to working with the NBC family for many years to come."

And they did, right up until this year. 

In 2007, the CMA has shifted gears. Instead of partnering with NBC Daytime, this year, they have invited stars of ABC Daytime .  There will even be a “Fun in the Sun” segment filmed during the festival. 

So, why the shift?  Last year, in addition to the NBC daytime stars, OLTL’s Kassie dePaiva (Blair) appeared. But that actually made some sense to us as dePaiva is likewise a singer and her songs of choice definitely have a country bent.  DePaiva attending the CMA Music Festival, singing and shopping her cds definitely did make sense.  Could her great time last year be what helped inspire the CMA and ABC to team up this year far as daytime talent appearances are concerned?

While over in the NBC camp, they cancelled one of their two soaps. As we all know, Passions is off the broadcast airwaves as of September.  Luckily, the show has been swallowed up by DIRECTV and will continue to air on the satellite’s original programming channel, picking up right where the NBC network airings leave off.  Could NBC’s canceling of Passions have had an impact on why they are not appearing at the Music Festival this year?

According to the spokesperson for the CMA, there is no real clear cut reason for the switch.  She did not discuss this year’s partnership with ABC with her marketing department, but felt that perhaps because the ABC network is airing the CMA Music Festival on Monday, July 23, and will also likewise host the CMA Awards in November, inviting ABC daytime stars seemed the natural progression and the strategic move to make. 

That does make a lot of sense.  But get this.  CBS aired the first CMA Music Festival back in 2003.  ABC has aired it since, in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  All those years it was the NBC daytime stars who attended.  Strange, no?

What really happened? 

No one seems to know, not even the spokesperson for NBC.  She is rather new to the position and was personally disappointed that NBC and the CMA had parted ways for this event.  “I heard everyone had such a great time,” she said.

So, ABC daytime stars and fans you are in for a blast.  Here's who will be at the CMA Music Festival this year:

All My Children
Justin Bruening (Jamie Martin) and Colin Egglesfield (Joshua Madden)

One Life to Live
Kathy Brier (Marcie McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer), John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex Balsom)

General Hospital
Becky Herbst (Elizabeth Spencer) and Greg Vaughan (Lucky Spencer)