Technology, not executive hypersensitivity, accounted for the blackout of last night’s Grammy Awards broadcast on AT&T U-verse systems around Orlando at a potentially controversial moment in the proceedings, the company says. The show went dark just as performers Macklemore & Lewis prepared to sing their song “Same Love,” with Queen Latifah set to use her new authority to officiate at weddings to marry 33 couples. AT&T says that’s when a fiber cut left customers experiencing “a brief disruption of local TV affiliate channels, including CBS.” Technicians made the repairs in about 10 minutes. “We sincerely apologize for the perceived implication of the timing. It definitely was not purposeful,” AT&T says.
What do Kathy Griffin and Stephen Colbert have in common? They are now both Emmy and Grammy winners. Colbert, winner of four Emmys for his eponymous Comedy Central late-night program, added a second Grammy to his collection for the audio version of his book America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t. He previously won in 2010 in the comedy category where Griffin nabbed her first Grammy in her sixth nomination tonight to become only the third woman to do so. (Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin were the other two.) Griffin, who won two Emmys for her Bravo series My Life On The D-List, thanked recently arrested pop star Justin Bieber for giving her his “relax juice.”
The reigning Oscar winner for best song, Adele’s James Bond ballad “Skyfall,” and Tony winner for best musical, Kinky Boots, repeated at the Grammys as Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Musical Theater Album (Skyfall also won for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.) After missing out on the DGA Award last night for directing the pilot of Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher was triumphant in the Best Music Video category for helming Justin Timberlake’s black-and-white “Suit & Tie.” And Pharrell Williams, big winner tonight with the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, was named Producer of the Year for several songs, including ”Happy,” the Oscar-nominated track from Despicable Me 2.
EXCLUSIVE: The Grammy Awards will soon get underway, and the highlight of the evening will be the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles‘ invasion of America. Surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are expected to play together for the first time in forever. Deadline hears that Oscar-nominated August: Osage County star Julia Roberts will do the introduction for McCartney. As for Starr, he’ll be introduced by Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne, the front man for the iconic re-united heavy metal band.
CBS and The Recording Academy announced dates for the next two Grammy Awards. The 56th annual Grammys are set for Sunday, January 26, 2014 at Staples Center, and the 57th Grammys will be February 8, 2015. This year’s awards show February 10 pulled in 28.37 million viewers and a 10.1 rating in the 18-49 demo. That was the second-best audience total since 1993 and came a year after the second-highest viewership ever in the wake of Whitney Houston’s death the night before the awards show.
Are the Oscars moving even later into March next year? All signs say ‘yes’ and the Academy would be wise to announce this sooner than later.
Despite annual (and always wrong) media speculation (including a recent column in a well-known show biz trade) that the Academy Awards are planning to move a month earlier into January insiders have repeatedly told me the Academy’s Board has no taste for that, and as at least one former top officer in the organization told me over the weekend, contractually they can’t do it.
Though they haven’t yet announced any dates for the next Oscar race, the schedule of the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia February 7 through the 23rd puts a big crimp in any plans to keep the Oscars even on in its current berth on the last Sunday of February where it would run smack into the Closing Night ceremonies. In the past when this has come up the Academy has always moved the Oscar show to the first Sunday in March which would be on the 2nd next year. Quite frankly there is nowhere else for the show to go. Do the math.
With the Super Bowl already claiming Sunday February 2nd and the Olympics taking the remaining three Sundays, the earliest date available would be January 26th and every source with whom I have spoken tells me that is the date CBS is claiming for the Grammys next year (moving two weeks earlier than their February 10, 2013 date). Also getting the message are the major show biz Guilds which have all already staked out their 2014 dates and sprayed the territory.
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
2ND WRITETHRU UPDATE, 10:25 AM: The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment confirmed the cancellation of all film permits scheduled for Saturday due to two major storms set to converge over the Eastern Seaboard this weekend. Since Hurricane Sandy, shooting permits in parts of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Lower Manhattan have been granted on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the city’s recovery efforts, though the majority of Manhattan remained unaffected. The latest cancellation affects all shoots throughout the city’s five boroughs.
The blizzard is expected to hit New England the hardest, with CNN reporting the storm could reach Boston by 5 PM and deliver 24-36 inches of snow. The network said that all cars and trucks other than emergency vehicles must be off Massachusetts’ roads by 4 PM.
More than 3,000 flights routed through airports on the East Coast have been cancelled, prompting concerns that travel for participation in entertainment industry events or TV broadcasts might be affected. Broadcasts scheduled over the weekend include a new episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Justin Beiber in New York, and the 55th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and 2013 BAFTA Awards in London, both set for Sunday. As for BAFTA, there have been no significant weather-related cancellations so far but organizers are continuing to monitor the situation. In addition, the Motion Picture Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards are scheduled for Saturday, and the American Society of Cinematographers Awards take place Sunday, both in LA.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Executive forces behind the Grammys today addressed the much-protested issue of last year’s elimination of more than 25% of the awards categories — from 109 to 81. The same question that fueled last year’s controversy was asked at the TCA presentation on this year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards: While the cut streamlined the TV show, has it lead to an underrepresentation of some musical genres?
Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (who appeared on the panel with executive producer Ken Erlich, CBS Entertainment’s executive vice president of specials, music and live events, and returning host/producer LL Cool J) defended the move. Re-evaluating the categories, Portnow said, “hadn’t been done for 50 years,” adding that every genre of music that falls within the eligibility time window “still has a place within our system.” He said that every year the producers will continue to re-evaluate existing categories.
Grammy Awards executive producer Ken Erlich announced today at TCA that CBS will present a documentary on “what happened this year” in music, including the Whitney Houston story. “The footage came in after the fact — we didn’t plan to do it ahead of time, but we had a meeting with [entertainment president] Nina Tassler, we put together a reel [and she thought] that would make a great show.” - Diane Haithman
Next year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 10 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, and will be be broadcast on CBS from 8-11:30 PM (live ET/delayed PT). Also coming back is the nominations special, The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!, which is scheduled for December 5. The eligibility year for the 55th Grammys is October 1 2011, to September 30, 2012. This year’s 54th Grammy Awards, which followed Whitney Houston’s death, drew 39.9 million viewers, the largest Grammy audience since 1984 and the second-largest in history.
As I first revealed in a November 28th exclusive (and then again Dec 31 ) the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences would not be moving the Oscar show any earlier than Mid-February and most likely not at all despite rampant, and wrong, media speculation elsewhere (both before and after the Deadline article appeared) that they were indeed going to shift the 2013 show a month earlier to late January. Not only was this not going to happen for next year’s show, it also is not in the cards for 2014, because the same configuration of dates and conflicts exist there too – and then some. ABC has a say in all this, as well as the Academy of course, and they did not want the late January date according to my plugged-in source. Feb 3rd is the Super Bowl and the following Sunday is the BAFTA awards and will likely be the Grammys (which narrowly eclipsed the Oscar ratings this year for the first time ever, largely due to the death of Whitney Houston the night before). The earliest the show could go was February 17th, just a week earlier than usual and as I wrote in November the Board would have to decide whether moving up just a few days was worth it. The Academy’s Board of Governors had a meeting last night and obviously they decided leave it on the same weekend it usually takes place, so February 24th at the Not-Kodak Theatre is it. Since Oscar ratings were up this …
2ND UPDATE: In the final Live+Same Day ratings, the audience for last night’s Grammy Awards climbed to 39.91 million, still the second largest ever behind the 1984 show, up 50% from last year. The adults 18-49 average was adjusted down to a 14.1/32, up 41% from last year.
UPDATE: With its timing, exactly 24 hours after the news of Whitney Houston’s death, the Grammy Awards were poised to draw a huge audience on CBS. And they did. The show averaged 39 million viewers, the second most watched Grammy telecast ever, behind only the 1984 show (43.8 million). Vs. last year, when the Grammy posted their largest viewership in a decade, the awards show was up an remarkable 46%. Among adults 18-49 (14.4/32), it was up 44%, matching its best result since 1990. The ceremony included numerous references to Houston’s death, including a prayer read by host LL Cool J and a tribute performance of “I Will Always Love You” by Jennifer Hudson. Adele was the big winner of the night with six gramophones, including the top awards for record and album of the year, and delivered her first performance since her throat surgery. The other network stayed mostly out of the way with the exception of ABC. Its America’s Funniest Home Videos (2.0/5 in 18-49) was actually up 5% from 2 weeks ago. But Once Upon A Time (3.0/7), Desperate Housewives (1.8/4) and Pan Am (0.7/2), which …
The Grammy Awards, the biggest awards show without a host, is getting one this year. LL Cool J has been tapped for the duties, marking the first time in seven years that the show, which airs on CBS, will have a host. Just like it did with the Tonys, hosted by How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris, and the recent People’s Choice Awards, hosted by The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco, CBS also employed a star from one of its popular series for Grammy emcee duties — LL Cool J is on the network’s drama NCIS: Los Angeles and has music cred having won two Grammys as a hip-hop artist. The 54th Annual Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Cener in Los Angeles on February 12. LL Cool J has already been part of CBS’ Grammy franchise — he has hosted The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! since the nomination special was launched in 2008.
After getting their show to Broadway, winning nine Tony Awards including Best New Musical, what else is there for Bobby Lopez, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, composers/lyricists for The Book of Mormon? Well, just a day after Deadline reported the musical went into the black and investors will turn a profit on their $11.4 million investment, The Book of Mormon original Broadway cast recording was nominated for a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. We connected with Lopez and Parker (his South Park co-creator Stone was either mum, elsewhere or both) in the middle of a conference call Wednesday night after nominations were announced, and the guys sounded pretty jazzed. Who wouldn’t? They have a genuine affection for musicals — Parker mentioned that he and Stone grew up in Colorado “listening to cast recordings and local performances” and Lopez chimed in that he had similar experiences. Because they’re up against a Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, we asked what was their favorite Porter song? Parker: “Anything Goes.” Lopez: “Kiss Me Kate.” The other musical revival they’re up against for Best Musical Theater Album is How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Favorite Frank Loesser song? Both: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Ummm, not Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 or 2? “Oh yes, both of them.” On that note it seemed best to let Lopez and Parker get on with celebrating, but we did …
A group of musicians protesting the Recording Academy’s move to drop 31 categories from the Grammy Awards is calling for a boycott of CBS, which airs the annual awards event, as well as the sponsors who advertise during the show, the Associated Press reported. The academy in April trimmed the number of categories from 109 to 78, saying the changes would hold for at least next year’s Grammys in February. …
Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert received approval today from the Federal Election Commission to start his own political action committee, which means he can raise money and produce and buy TV time for political ads. If the ads air anywhere but on his Viacom-owned show, they must disclose their funding sources. Colbert started the campaign to mock Citizens United, a PAC that won a Supreme Court case relaxing national campaign finance rules. “I don’t know about you but I do not accept limits on my free speech, I don’t know about you but I do not accept the status quo. But I do accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express,” he told a crowd in Washington DC after the ruling. …
NBC will televise the season finale of fellow Comcast network G4′s original series American Ninja Warrior on Aug. 22 as part of a two-hour primetime special.
The Grammy Awards are staying put at CBS for another 10 years. The network, which has carried the music industry’s top awards show since 1973, has signed a new 10-year deal with the Recording Academy to be the Grammy’s TV home through 2021. With the pact, which includes a series of two-hour Grammy specials, all major awards shows are locked in for the better part of the next decade at their long-time networks. Earlier this year, ABC signed a six-year extension to carry the Oscars through 2020, and the Big 4 broadcast networks just closed a new eight-year deal for the Primetime Emmy Awards. Last fall, NBC moved in to secure the Golden Globe Awards through 2018, signing a new eight-year deal with Dick Clark Prods., but that deal is now the subject of litigation between DCP and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Of the smaller awards shows, the Tony Awards will air on CBS at least through 2013 with a new three-year deal signed last fall, while the future of Daytime Emmy Awards is murky as the show has been airing via one-off TV deals for the past three years. In the Grammy announcement, CBS also set the date for next year’s awards — Feb. 12. Here is the official release:
UPDATE: CBS, which carries the Grammy Awards, issued a statement from Jack Sussman, EVP specials, music and live events. “On behalf of everyone at CBS, our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s wife Rita, daughters, Maria and Rose and the entire Cossette family,” Sussman said. “I was fortunate to work with him for several years and call him a friend. Having taken over for his father, who created the Grammys, he will forever be connected to the television event he worked so hard to make Music’s Biggest Night.”
PREVIOUS: John Cossette, who executive produced more than a dozen Grammy Awards telecasts, including this year’s edition, has died. He succeeded his father, Pierre Cossette, who brought the Grammys to television. John Cossette Productions also exec produced several BET Hip Hop Awards and BET Honors telecasts, as well as the current Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.