Monday, November 23, 2009
– CMT's Top 20 Countdown host Lance Smith is leaving the network after about nine years, it was announced Monday joined CMT in 2001 as the network's first VJ.
As host, he presided over more than 400 episodes, missing only 3 in 8 years.
"I'll continue to pursue a place in front of a mic or camera, but it will be under a different set of lights." Smith said, "Once upon a time, before my decade long stint as a host, I was an actor, and it's time to wear that hat once again. I will forever be grateful for every chance and opportunity given to me by CMT and Country Music. There's not a better fan base in the world. But most of all I will miss the crews - my friends behind the scenes. It's the show behind the curtain that I was most fortunate to see."
"Growing up before our viewers' eyes, Lance has developed remarkable versatility - sly humor, perfect timing, strong relationships with our stars, and the ability to gracefully handle everything we've thrown at him," said Brian Philips, president, CMT. "He leaves Top 20 at the height of its biggest ratings streak ever, and his shoes will be hard to fill. We applaud his ambition, and look forward to the next great phase of Lance's career. His extended family at CMT and MTV Networks thank him for his terrific run."
Smith is currently working on an independent film being shot around the Nashville area. While film and television acting roles are currently being pursued, Smith will continue to further his hosting career as well.