Toby Keith to Get All-Star Salute on CMT Music Awards Featuring Lainey Wilson, Brooks & Dunn, Lukas Nelson and More (EXCLUSIVE)

Toby Keith, whose history with the CMT Music Awards goes back to having co-hosted the earliest incarnation of the show, will get his due in the wake of his recent death, as an all-star salute is planned for Keith on Sunday night’s three-hour CBS telecast.

The tribute will feature performances by one of the hottest figures in country music, Lainey Wilson, along with his fellow industry veterans Brooks & Dunn, whose Ronnie Dunn is a fellow Okie. Rocker Sammy Hagar, who featured Keith on an episode of his TV series “Rock & Roll Road Trip” in 2022, will join the lineup paying homage.

More from Variety

Set for what’s being billed as special appearances saluting the late singer are Lukas Nelson and Roger Clemens. Nelson’s father, Willie, had a smash duet with Keith, “Beer for My Horses.” Baseball legend Roger Clemens’ friendship with Keith included the singer inducting the ballplayer into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. (Clemens also has a strong tie to the telecast’s host city, Austin, having risen to fame with the University of Texas Longhorns in the early 1980s.)

The tribute marks a homecoming of sorts, as Keith co-hosted the CMT Music Awards when it aired under a slightly more unwieldy name, the CMT Flameworthy Video Awards. He shared the podium as host with Pamela Anderson in 2003 — a year when he was the most-awarded artist of the night with three trophies — and again with Kristen Bell in 2012. He also performed on the show 13 times, including one 10-year consecutive run of appearances. He was nominated 30 times and won seven of those.

CMT is further saluting Keith, it was announced Thursday, with a one-hour tribute special, tentatively titled “CMT Music Awards Celebrates Toby Keith,” premiering on that network April 11 from 10-11 p.m.

Keith recently made posthumous headlines with the announcement last month of his impending induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The timing wasn’t intentionally sentimental, as the voting results came in to the hall from accountants on the same day the world learned of his death.

Keith’s run of blockbuster success in country included 32 No. 1 songs and an additional 42 singles that reached the top 10 on the Billboard chart.

The salute to Keith joins a long list of performances already set for Sunday’s CMTs, with artists including host Kelsea Ballerini, Jelly Roll, a Little Big Town/Sugarland pairing, Bailey Zimmerman, Keith Urban, Cody Johnson, Dasha, Jason Aldean, Megan Moroney, Sam Hunt, Needtobreathe with Jordan Davis, Old Dominion, Parker McCollum featuring Brittney Spencer, and special humanitarian awardee Trisha Yearwood.

The 2024 CMT Music Awards air live on CBS from Austin’s Moody Center at 8 p.m. Sunday night, with concurrent livestreaming for Paramount+ With Showtime subscribers, and on-demand viewing on Paramount+ starting Monday.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.