UPDATED: Performers and a host have been announced for Sunday’s celebration of life for Naomi Judd, with Robin Roberts presiding over the proceedings and Brandi Carlile, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, the Gaithers and Emmylou Harris and Allison Russell singing in honor of Judd.
The memorial will air live and commercial-free on CMT Sunday at 6 p.m. ET/5 CT with an encore presentation at 10 p.m. ET/9 CT. On the west coast, it will be shown tape-delayed at 6 and 10.
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Bono, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Martina McBride and Salma Hayek will offer tributes, and Judd’s daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd will appear. Carly Pearce and Cody Alan will host the CMT telecast. .
The program is being co-produced by CMT and Sandbox Live. The show’s executive producers are Margaret Comeaux and Leslie Fram of CMT, Jason Owen of Sandbox Live and Patrizia DiMaria of Ladypants Productions.
Said the CMT producers in a joint statement, “We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna and Ashley to present this live celebration of life for their mother Naomi. While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music. This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music.”
Sandbox Live, along with Live Nation, had been behind the short, 10-date “final tour” by the Judds that had been scheduled to run this September and October.
Naomi’s final performance was shown on the CMT Music Awards program April 11, in a pre-taped rendition of “Love Can Build a Bridge” with Wynonna shot earlier in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Judds walked the red carpet together before the live telecast.
Authorities and Judd’s family have still not given an official cause of death for the singer, although the statement given out by Ashley and Wynonna hours after their mother’s death attributed it to “the disease of mental illness,” and the senior Judd had written candidly in her memoirs of dealing with what she characterized as lifelong, sometimes crippling depression.
The Country Music Hall of Fame medallion ceremony that took place May 1 in Nashville ended up functioning in part almost as a preliminary memory service for Naomi, who died just a day before she and Wynonna were inducted as a duo into the hall. Both Ashley and Wynonna spoke at the ceremony, as the Judds were officially inducted by Ricky Skaggs and received musical tributes from Carly Pearce, Tommy Sims and the duo of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Brandi Carlile, who had been slated to also serenade the Judds at the medallion ceremony, offered a performance on her social channels after having to cancel because of a COVID diagnosis.
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