Multi-hyphenate entertainer Jennifer Nettles tapped to receive inaugural “CMT Equal Play Award” at the “2020 CMT Music Awards” on Wednesday, October 21st at 8PM ET/7PM CT


CMT Equal Play initiative continues to expand with launch of new music channel “CMT Equal Play” on Pluto TV

CMT Equal Play logo | headshot

NASHVILLE -- (October 20) -- CMT today announced that GRAMMY-winning artist and entertainer Jennifer Nettles will receive the inaugural “CMT Equal Play Award” at the “2020 CMT Music Awards,” country music’s only entirely fan-voted award show, airing Wednesday, October 21st at 8PM ET/7PM CT on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, Pop and TV Land.

Nettles will be recognized during the Awards telecast for her ongoing advocacy for women and diverse voices in the music industry, as she works tirelessly towards gender parity in country music and beyond. From her powerful fashion statement at the 2019 CMA Awards to her outspokenness exposing the glaring gender disparity on radio airwaves and the algorithm bias among streaming services, Nettles is a strong advocate for systemic change in female representation in country music and the ultimate supporter for female voices.

“Jennifer Nettles is that rare artist who speaks her truth, calling out injustice wherever she sees it,” said Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President, Music Strategy, CMT. “Her commitment to equal female representation across the board in the music industry embodies the spirit of our equal play initiative and makes her the perfect recipient of the inaugural ‘CMT Equal Play Award.’”

“As a proud part of the beautiful legacy of women in country music, I am honored to be the first recipient of the ‘CMT Equal Play Award,’” said Nettles. “I look forward to celebrating the contributions of women, and all marginalized communities, within the country music format, and I am motivated in encouraging the non-artists, executives and investors in the industry, to do the same. There is much work still to be done.”

Fram added: “We’d also like to thank our partners at Pluto TV who launched a ‘pop-up’ channel today called ‘CMT Equal Play’ in support of the Awards that will offer country music videos 24/7, with an equal male/female playlist, allowing us to further our commitment to equal play.”

CMT’s Equal Play initiative was launched in 2019 in response to the lack of female representation in country music, specifically radio and streaming services. CMT Equal Play was designed to encourage measurable industry-wide action and create a path for parity in 2020.

As such, CMT has instituted:

  • 50/50 play for female artists across CMT and CMT Music channels, effective January 2020.
  • CMT Radio Live pledged equal play, doubling airplay for female artists with its own 50% female playlist.
  • CMT After MidNite debuted “CMT Next Women of Country: Artist of the Month,” an on-air feature that directly impacts charting, allowing CMT one additional spin per week for female artists on 230+ stations nationally syndicated by iHeartRadio’s Premiere Networks.

Prior to launching CMT Equal Play, the brand established its Next Women of Country franchise in 2013 in an effort to support and expose developing female talent, both signed and unsigned, in a male-dominated format. The campaign showcases emerging female artists across all CMT screens throughout the year, including CMT and CMT Music channels, CMT Hot 20 Countdown,, @CMT social and more. The initiative has expanded to include an annual event in November, six nationwide tours, and company-wide opportunities for the artists, including live events and the ViacomCBS Times Square NYC Billboard.

A new class of inductees to Next Women of Country will be announced in November. Visit for more information.

“2020 CMT Music Awards” is executive produced by CMT’s Margaret Comeaux, Switched On Entertainment’s John Hamlin and Amy Lin Johnson; the Executives in Charge of Production are Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino.

Official sponsors of the “2020 CMT Music Awards” are Kit Kat®, Little Caesars Delivery, PEDIGREE® and the Ram Truck Brand.

For more information, visit, follow @CMT on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, use hashtag #CMTawards and ‘like’ the CMT Music Awards on Facebook.


About Jennifer Nettles:
Jennifer Nettles is a superstar entertainer on multiple platforms who most recently portrayed “Aimee-Leigh Gemstone” on HBO’s hit series The Righteous Gemstones and delivered a powerful and provocative performance in Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic. In 2019, Jennifer released an EP titled “I Can Do Hard Things.” Previously, she released two solo albums titled “Playing with Fire” and “To Celebrate Christmas,” as well as a Sugarland album named “Bigger.” Sugarland’s song “Stay” was a platinum No. 1 hit which earned two GRAMMY® Awards for “Best Country Song” and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group,” and Jennifer earned another GRAMMY for her collaboration with Bon Jovi on "Who Says You Can't Go Home." Her other achievements in music include five ASCAP awards, three ACM Awards, a CMA Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award and the Artist Impact Award from Lincoln Center. Jennifer made her Broadway debut in 2015 as “Roxy Hart” in the Tony® Award-winning, record-breaking musical Chicago and starred as “Donna” in the Hollywood Bowl’s summer production of Mamma Mia!

About CMT:
CMT is the leading authority on country music and lifestyle, offering a mix of original series, music events and specials. CMT is everywhere its fans are including two cable channels (CMT and the 24-hour music channel, CMT Music), radio (CMT Radio), digital ( and social (@CMT on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube). CMT is a unit of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC) (“ViacomCBS”). For more information, please visit

About Pluto TV:
Pluto TV, a ViacomCBS Company, is the leading free streaming television service in America, delivering hundreds of live and original channels and thousands of on-demand movies in partnership with major TV networks, movie studios, publishers, and digital media companies. Named by Fast Company as one of 2020's Most Innovative Companies, Pluto TV has a global audience of over 33 million monthly active users, with 26.5 million in the U.S. Pluto TV has an international footprint that spans across three continents and 22 countries throughout the US, Europe and Latin America. Pluto TV is available on all mobile, web and connected TV streaming devices where millions tune in each month to watch premium news, TV shows, movies, sports, lifestyle, and trending digital series. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Pluto TV has offices across the United States, Europe and Latin America.


2020 CMT Music Awards


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