Rascal Flatts (AP file)

Country music’s biggest stars as well as cross-genre musical innovators come together to celebrate the holidays on “CMA Country Christmas,” which taped in front of a live audience Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

The special, hosted for the second time by Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, will air from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 on the ABC Television Network. The program will repeat from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.

Vince Gill (AP file)

Artists who planned to perform and celebrate the season with songs and stories include Rascal Flatts (which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney), “American Idol” runner-up Lauren Alaina, Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Oklahoma native Vince Gill in a special performance with Miss Piggy.

“This special is a holiday gift, wrapped in outstanding performances and tied with a ribbon of favorite family traditions,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer, in a news release. “Everything you love most about the holidays can be found in ‘CMA Country Christmas.’”

In 2010, the first “CMA Country Christmas” drew an average audience of 7.3 million viewers in its first airing on November 30, topping original competition on NBC and Fox by wide margins. It improved its time period for ABC over the same night in 2009 by a million viewers (7.3 vs. 6.3 million).

The special re-aired a second time on December 22, 2010, reaching 4.25 million viewers. With its combined airings, “CMA Country Christmas” was seen by more than 11.5 million viewers in 2010.



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Can’t wait to watch the Xtmas special. Last’s years so awsome and I bet this year will be too.

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