Brad Paisley may have been absent from the CMA Awards this year, but he came back to prime time in a big way on Dec. 3 as host of his own variety TV special, Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special.
The 60-minute special featured Brad—and a bevy of his famous friends—performing music and comedic numbers from Nashville’s iconic War Memorial Auditorium. Special guests included Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Kelsea Ballerini, Hootie & the Blowfish, Jonas Brothers, Chris Harrison, Peyton Manning and more.
Brad’s TV special netted 6.3 million viewers during its initial broadcast on Dec. 3, so ABC is re-airing the show on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. ET.
Brad sat down with Kix Brooks of American Country Countdown to chat about his TV endeavor.
Q: How did the TV special come to fruition?
Brad: “I went to ABC and said this is an idea I have that I think is a niche that’s not being filled on prime-time television, and I would love to do this TV special that’s a really good example of the best scenario of people collaborating in music and trying to have a good time and telling some jokes and doing some funny skits and being a part of something that sort of shows that a lot of us [in entertainment] are friends.”
Q: How did you decide on the show’s name?
Brad: “One of the reasons we named it Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special is because I felt like it would be a lot of fun to tear me down throughout this and that’s kinda the vehicle. I’m roasted the whole time. This doesn’t serve to elevate me in any way, really [laughing]. From the minute the show starts, Peyton Manning is telling me how I really should not even be doing this. And it gets worse after that.”
Q: What’s a quality your special guests have in common?
Brad: “People that are . . . willing to laugh at themselves are perfect for this. That’s where people like Peyton and Carrie and Tim McGraw—they’re just willing to joke about themselves, but at the same time, it gets easy when I tell them, ‘Look, it’s really about roasting me.’ They were all in on that.”
Q: Tell me about one of the night’s special performances.
Brad: “I had met this girl, Addie Pratt, at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, who’s now a proud [cancer] survivor—a great example of what that place can do. One of the things I said when ABC gave me this show was I would like to do something good with this as opposed to just making a show. Let’s do something that serves the higher good. I can’t think of a better example of what’s great about being alive right now than a place like St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I had this idea to have a survivor sing a line [from a new song], but I had no idea this survivor was like Beyoncé. She deserves a record deal. In the show you can image that moment is really—it was all I could do not to cry.”
photo by Curtis Hilbun, AFF-USA.com