The public memorial for late country singer Naomi Judd will air live on CMT

A woman with red hair and bangs smiles for a photo
Country star Naomi Judd, half of country duo the Judds, poses for a photo in 2012.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

Late country music star Naomi Judd will get a TV salute from her family and her contemporaries at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Sunday.

The public memorial, “Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration,” will air live and commercial-free on CMT and will include tributes from her daughters, singer Wynonna and actor Ashley Judd, “to honor the extraordinary life and legacy of [the] country music icon,” the network said Wednesday in a statement.

“We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna, Ashley and Larry [Strickland] to present this live celebration of life for their mother and wife Naomi,” CMT producers said.

“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.”


A day after Naomi Judd’s death, the Country Music Hall of Fame moved forward with the induction of her and daughter Wynonna. It was a tearful affair.

They added that the special is meant to celebrate Judd’s “timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music.”

Additional performers and details about the show will be announced over the next few days, CMT said. The special is a co-production from CMT and Sandbox Live. CMT’s Margaret Comeaux and Leslie Fram, Sandbox’s Jason Owen and Ladypants Productions’ Patrizia DiMaria will serve as executive producers.

The Kentucky-born singer, who was half of Grammy winners the Judds, died in April at age 76, a day before the duo’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her death also came mere weeks after the Judds had reunited at the 2022 CMT Awards and performed their 1990 hit “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

During the 2022 CMT Music Awards, mother-daughter country duo the Judds made their triumphant comeback onstage with a gospel choir.

The duo had just announced an arena tour — their first in more than a decade — that was set to begin in the fall. The future of the tour remains unclear.

The Judds called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi Judd with hepatitis (Wynonna carried on as a solo artist). Upon announcing her death, the family said that they lost Judd “to the disease of mental illness.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Ashley Judd wrote in a May 6 op-ed for USA Today that addressed her mom’s mental health and “unintended pregnancy” at age 17.

“I was supposed to visit her on Sunday, to give her a box of old-fashioned candy, our family tradition. We were supposed to have sweet delight in each others’ easy presence. Instead, I am unmoored.”