Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley co-host the 46th Annual CMA Awards (7 p.m., ABC). They will also perform, along with Eric Church, who has the most nominations with five. Other scheduled performers include the Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift.
Kenny Chesney won Entertainer of the Year last year and is up for the accolade again tonight. Should he prevail, that would give him the most wins in the category and top Garth Brooks, who, like Chesney, has been named Entertainer of the Year four times.
Four-time Female Vocalist of the Year Reba McEntire returns to television Friday night with “Malibu Country” on ABC. With “Nashville,” the CMAs and “Malibu,” the network has doubled-down on country music-themed entertainment as November sweeps begins.
Networks were not always so enamored of country music and its audience. Advertisers once pushed programmers to target more urban and suburban viewers. The Nashville Network became so unfashionable with Madison Avenue that its name was changed to the National Network and then to Spike. A new version of the Nashville Network will launch today on the higher digital tier on some cable systems. But with television audiences splintering into ever-smaller fragments, networks are reaching out to what used to be niche markets. This year, the Disney-owned ABC has gambled on country.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Jenna’s demographic remains up for grabs on “30 Rock” (7 p.m., NBC).
• Competition continues on the season’s first live episode of “The X Factor” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Ava appears to have moved on with her life on “Up All Night” (7:30 p.m., NBC).
• Reese protects a journalist on “Person of Interest” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Andy’s dad squanders the family fortune on “The Office” (8 p.m., NBC).
• Exhuming the disco look on “Project Runway All Stars” (8 p.m., Lifetime).
• Leslie meets Ben’s parents on “Parks and Recreation” (8:30 p.m., NBC).
• A killer targets the terminally ill on “Elementary” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Charlie and Dee enter a higher social strata on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (9 p.m., FX).