“CMT Hot 20 Countdown” made network history recently when the show completed its first-ever trip overseas to a military base in Bahrain to tape two special holiday episodes that will air at the end of the year. “Hot 20 Video of the Year Countdown” premieres Saturday, December 17 at 9 AM, ET/PT followed by “Hot 20 Holiday Salute” on Saturday, December 24 at 9 AM, ET/PT.
Partnering with Armed Forces Entertainment, CMT’s Cody Alan and country duo Big & Rich visited the Naval Support Activity Bahrain, home to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. 5th Fleet. Their trip, which included rocking performances from Big & Rich, special music video shout-outs from military personnel to their friends and family back home, tours of Arabian Gulf naval ships, physical training sessions with soldiers on base, artillery demos and more will be highlighted across both “Hot 20” specials.
“This was ‘Hot 20’s’ most ambitious production to date and being able to bring the troops a little closer to their families was a no-brainer for us,” said Quinn Brown, CMT executive producer. “Our military deserves special recognition any time of the year, but for the holiday season it’s particularly important to bring some joy to those overseas. Big & Rich did just that – what a phenomenal concert they put on for the thousands at the base. It was an absolute honor to be invited to NSA Bahrain and to be amongst so many brave and talented people.”
“This was a unique experience for us. It’s the first time that Armed Forces Entertainment has sent a tour to any of our locations that included a cable network’s camera crew,” said Major Jody Wynans, Chief of Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE). “The holidays typically represent a time when families get together, so to be able to provide our deployed service members with a little piece of home in the form of quality entertainment and hopefully cheer them up while they’re missing their loved ones, is what AFE is all about.”
“It is sure an inspiring experience to get an up-close look at our US Naval base in Bahrain, which is host and home to a very large multi-national coalition force working to support operations and providing stability and peace in the region,” said Big & Rich’s Big Kenny. “The focus, discipline, knowledge and integrity that we witnessed of the security forces and command there is superb. I can say with great pride and assurance that our nation is represented well on the front lines of freedom by the men and women of the US military. It was an absolute honor and a blast to play some country music for all the folks there and say thank you on behalf of all of us back home in the USA. We are blessed beyond belief.”