44th Country Music Awards Live from MGM Grand Apr. 5 on CBS

Country Music’s Party of the Year, the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 8 p.m. EST/PST on the CBS Television Network. In addition, the Academy has announced the Artist of the Decade Special Honoring George Strait which will be taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Monday, April 6, 2009 to air at a later date on the CBS Television Network. Both shows are produced for television by dick clark productions and will be open to the public.

Music, film and television legend Reba McEntire will host the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards for the 11th time. She has won 11 Academy of Country Music Awards including the first annual Academy of Country Music/The Home Depot Humanitarian Award for her outstanding philanthropic work.

“King of Country” George Strait will receive the Academy’s Artist of the Decade Special award in recognition of his record-breaking career spanning nearly 25 years. Only four acts have been honored as Artist of the Decade Special in the Academy’s history including Marty Robbins in 1969, Loretta Lynn in 1979, Alabama in 1988 and Garth Brooks in 1998. Strait has won 19 Academy of Country Music Awards including Entertainer of the Year in 1990. Strait holds the record for the most No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and currently has 56 No. 1 singles to his credit. He has sold more than 68 million records, garnering him 32 platinum and multi-platinum albums. The result is the most RIAA platinum certification in country music and the third in all genres, behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. His current album, Troubadour, is certified gold.

“We are thrilled that Reba is back to host and that George will be honored with this milestone award,” said Bob Romeo, executive director of the Academy of Country Music. “The Academy and dick clark productions are committed to bringing the best in country music entertainment to fans in their own homes in 2009 – both shows are not-to-be-missed events!”

Orly Adelson, president of dick clark productions, said, “Nearly 12 million viewers tuned in to our show this year and we’re driving ourselves to deliver an even bigger, better show to those viewers in 2009. The Awards have become a concert event, treating music fans to amazing performances, unexpected combinations of artists and moments that really ‘wow.’ We expect both shows next year to deliver on those elements.”

Tickets for both events go on sale Thursday, Nov. 6 and are available for purchase to ACM professional members as well as to fans who are ACM associate members from Thursday, Nov. 6 – Thursday, Nov. 20. Tickets will be available to the public Friday, Nov. 21. Country fans may sign up for free ACM associate membership at www.acmcountry.com to receive the ticket purchase code and information on discounted room rates at MGM Grand, while rooms are available. For event and ticket information, visit www.acmcountry.com.