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[11/05/12 - 02:49 PM]
Rascal Flatts and Hayden Panettiere Honor the Year's Top Country Artists as Hosts of "CMT Artists Of the Year" on Saturday, December 8
"We are honored to be co-hosting the 'CMT Artists of The Year' show with Hayden. Save the cheerleader, host a TV show!," said Jay DeMarcus.

[via press release from CMT]

RASCAL FLATTS AND HAYDEN PANETTIERE HONOR THE YEAR'S TOP COUNTRY ARTISTS AS HOSTS OF "CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR" ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8

NASHVILLE - November 5, 2012 - Country super group Rascal Flatts and "Nashville" actress Hayden Panettiere will honor the top country acts of 2012 as hosts of the third annual 2012 CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR premiering Saturday, December 8 at 11:00 p.m., ET/PT. The 90-minute special is the most exclusive gathering of country music superstars of the year and celebrates the class of 2012 with an incredible evening of wall-to-wall performances and special appearances from others in entertainment.

"We are honored to be co-hosting the 'CMT Artists of The Year' show with Hayden. Save the cheerleader, host a TV show!," said Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus. "We're gonna have a blast!"

"Nashville is my second home now," says Hayden Panettiere. "I am so happy to be embraced by the country community and to be included in such a big event, especially with Rascal Flatts. I can't wait to see how the evening unfolds!"

Rascal Flatts is the best-selling country vocal group of the past decade and the #1 debut of their new release, CHANGED, earned them the distinction of being one of only four acts to have seven consecutive studio albums debut in the top spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart during the Soundscan era. Since their musical debut in 2000, the band has sold over 21 million albums, 25 million digital downloads, delivered 14 #1 singles to the top of the charts and have sold over 7 million concert tickets. Rascal Flatts is the most awarded Country group of the past decade, earning over 40 trophies from numerous industry and fan-voted shows included 8 CMT Awards. Rascal Flatts will extend the Farmers Insurance Presents CHANGED TOUR into 2013, kicking off a winter leg on January 10 with special guests The Band Perry.

One of entertainment's brightest stars, Hayden Panettiere has amassed a long list of credits at a young age. Widely known for her role as cheerleader "Claire Bennett" in the hit NBC series, "Heroes," Panettiere is currently starring opposite Connie Britton in the new ABC series "Nashville." On the big screen, Panettiere was recently seen in Wes Craven's Scream 4, as well as the Lifetime Original Movie, The Amanda Knox Story, and The Forger. She also recently lent her voice to the characters "Kate" in the 3D animated film Alpha and Omega and "Red" in the animated feature film Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil. She has received numerous accolades, including the 2008 and 2009 Teen Choice Awards for "Choice Actress: Action/Adventure," as well as the 2009 Teen Choice Award for "Choice Celebrity Activist." Panettiere is campaign spokesperson for the Whaleman Foundation, an oceanic research, conservation, and production organization dedicated to preserving and protecting dolphins, whales, and their ocean habitat. Since serving as spokesperson, she has traveled to Washington, DC to meet with Congressmen, was invited to the International Whaling Conference in Portugal and was featured in The Cove, a 2010 Oscar-winning documentary film exposing the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Panettiere's involvement in animal welfare led to her being the recipient of the Genesis Wyler Award from The Humane Society of the United States in 2007, as well as Variety's 2011 Power of Youth Award, which recognizes young entertainers who have made significant contributions to philanthropic and charitable causes. She is also an official spokesperson for Declare Yourself, the national nonpartisan, nonprofit youth voter initiative aimed at empowering and encouraging America's 18-year olds to register and vote. In addition to her philanthropic work, Hayden has been a Neutrogena ambassador since 2005.

For the first time ever, CMT is keeping the illustrious list of honorees top secret until they are revealed on the night of December 8. Will Jason Aldean make it a three-peat? Will fan-favorite Miranda Lambert be honored? Will country's biggest bad boy Eric Church make his debut as one of the CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR? With so many artists having had a successful year like Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, and many more, it is going to be tough to predict which artists will walk away with the CMT honor. Past artists named as CMT Artists of the Year include Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Zac Brown Band.

CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR is executive produced by R.A.Clark, John Hamlin and Margaret Comeaux.

CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.





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· NASHVILLE (ABC)





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