Since Nashville legend Reba McEntire had already won just about every prize in existence, CMT's Flame-Worthy VMAs had to go and invent a new one for her: the Johnny Cash Visionary Award, which she'll receive during Wednesday night's live ceremony (beginning at 8 pm/ET). "It's an honor to be placed in any category with Johnny," the modest star of WB's Reba tells TV Guide Online. However, she won't be saluting the original man in black by donning his trademark funereal attire. "I normally wear black, but I have chosen something different for this show."
We shouldn't be surprised. Change, it seems, is the one constant in McEntire's life at the moment. For starters, she's about to hit the road for the first time in three years. "I needed that break after touring for 25 years straight," she says. "Now I'm energized by the music again." So much so that, while the Britneys of the world have come to rely on smoke and mirrors to make their concerts memorable, the rowdy redhead will be focusing on heart and soul. "For years, we pushed the envelope in [terms of] production, and I really enjoyed that; you have to do something to keep yourself from getting bored. [But] I think it's easy [when going that route] to lose focus on the song."
McEntire's renewed interest in keeping it real also extends to her namesake sitcom. Nothing makes her happier, she insists, than when "the script touches someone and deals with family issues that help people deal with the same type of things in their own family. [That's] a passion that continues with me." Season 4 of the sleeper hit promises to offer the philanthropic actress further opportunities to counsel through example. "The adults are at a point in life where they are asking themselves, 'Is this all there is after all these years of working and doing what [we] thought [we] should be doing?' [You're] suddenly realizing that those things didn't make you as happy as you thought they might. That will make for some interesting twists for our characters."
Perhaps even McEntire herself is ready for a twist. After all, she's conquered music, television and Broadway. Maybe the time is right for her to rejoin Family Ties dad Michael Gross in a sequel to their 1990 laugh-a-minute thriller about oversized earthworms terrorizing the Midwest, Tremors. "I never knew it would turn out to be the cult classic that is has become," chuckles the unlikely heroine, cast as a wacky survivalist. "I'm very proud of my work in Tremors, but remembering all those early-morning calls out in the desert... well, I wouldn't want to shoot another one!"