It’s hard to imagine NPR without the distinctive baritone voice of Carl Kasell. But we’ll soon have to: The public radio service says that this spring he will retire from his duties as the Official Judge and Scorekeeper — and straight man — for the wickedly funny weekly game show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. He will become the show’s Scorekeeper Emeritus making occasional appearances while continuing to record custom voicemail greetings for the show’s winners. Kasell took the Wait Wait job in 1998, a big change of image for a broadcaster who has spent more than five decades in the business and was best known for his 30 years as a newscaster for NPR’s Morning Edition. “He was the voice people woke up to,” VP Programming Eric Nuzum says. “They opened their eyes, and for 30 years, Carl Kasell was there, reassuring them the world was still in one piece.” Kasell also contributed to daily newsmagazine Morning Edition from its inception in 1979 to 2009. In addition to his NPR work, Kasell has been the voice of the Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts. But he calls his tenure with the game show “my favorite time at NPR….I can honestly say I am the luckiest man around to be able to have worked at a job I love for so many years.” NPR is inviting fans to …
The 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors will fete actress Shirley MacLaine, pianist/singer/songwriter Billy Joel, musician/songwriter Carlos Santana, opera singer Martina Arroyo, and pianist/band leader/composer Herbie Hancock, CBS announced this morning. The annual event at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been broadcast on CBS every year since its debut 36 years ago; this year’s broadcast will air Sunday, December 29, from 9-11 PM. From today’s announcement:
Greeting the Kennedy Center honorees tonight at a pre-ceremony reception at the White House, President Obama entered the East Room to cheers and applause, and said “Welcome to the White House on a night when I am nowhere close to being the main attraction.” The honorees are surviving members of Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant; ballerina Natalia Makarova, Dave Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and Buddy Guy. Obama praised the Kennedy Center trustees and recognized President Kennedy’s daughter Caroline who was seated next to First Lady Michelle Obama in the audience. CBS will broadcast a two-hour special covering the Kennedy Center Honors on December 26th. Here is an edited and condensed version of Obama’s remarks tonight from the pool report:
“None of this would be possible without the co-chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities,” the President said, singling out “George Stevens and his son Michael who have produced the Kennedy Center Honors for 35 years now.”
“Tonight, we continue a tradition here at the White House by honoring some extraordinary people who have no business being on the same stage together. We’ve got Buddy Guy sitting next to Dustin Hoffman. We’ve got Dave Letterman alongside one of the greatest ballerinas of all time. I don’t think Dave dances. All three living members of Led Zeppelin in one place — so this is a remarkable evening.”
“Tonight’s honorees didn’t just take up their crafts to make a living. They did it because they couldn’t imagine living any other way. That passion took each of them from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their profession. Tonight, in the People’s House, we have a chance to say thank you.”
Maybe David Letterman will talk about it when President Obama appears on The Late Show September 18th. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients this morning. Letterman joins actor Dustin Hoffman, the rock band Led Zeppelin, blues great Buddy Guy, and ballerina Natalia Marakova as the 2012 Annual Kennedy Center Honorees. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive a medallion. The night before the gala, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host a State Department dinner for the seven individuals who then sit with President Obama and First Lady Michelle during the December 4th ceremony. The President and Mrs Obama will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala.
For the 35th year, the honors will be broadcast by CBS as a two-hour primetime special on December 26th. George Stevens Jr, who co-created the honors in 1978, returns to produce and co-write. He was just tapped to receive an Honorary Oscar this year.
“With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
“Buddy Guy is a titan of
The Kennedy Center Honors will mark 40 years on CBS. The network has signed a new agreement with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that will keep the annual Kennedy Center Honors on CBS through 2018. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978. “The Kennedy Center Honors continues to be one of the most prestigious broadcasts on all of television, and we are honored to be its host,” said CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves. “It is a unique event that reinforces our country’s collective appreciation for the performing arts with tremendous class, style and, yes, entertainment.” The Kennedy Center Honorees are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.
EXCLUSIVE: Meryl Streep is waiting until almost the last possible minute to jump into this year’s Oscar race. Although many places list her Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady as a December 16 release, The Weinstein Company has decided it is best to keep us waiting a little longer. So the official opening date for the movie that co-stars Jim Broadbent and is directed by Phyllida Lloyd is now December 30 in a limited platform release, with a wider break to come on January 13 to cash in on those expected Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Streep is expected to be a front-runner for lead actress, which would be her 14th nomination in that category and 17th overall (she has three in supporting) with two wins, the last coming in 1982 for Sophie’s Choice. The records she keeps breaking are her own. Although an impressive statistic, Streep likes to remind people she has also lost more times than any other actor in Oscar history. The closest competitor for number of Best Actress nods is Katharine Hepburn who stopped at 12 (although Kate’s ahead in the actual gold count with four wins).
Will her portrayal of Thatcher bring Streep that elusive third Oscar? She has tough competition from potential nominees Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, Charlize Theron in Young Adult, Viola Davis in The Help and Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin among others….
Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and singer Barbara Cook will be feted at the 34th annual Kennedy Center Honors, which are set to be bestowed Dec. 4. CBS will broadcast the event Dec. 7; the network has aired the gala each year since George Stevens Jr. and Nick Vanoff created the event in 1978 — it is currently nominated for an Emmy for a fifth consecutive year. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for Streep to get a little national TV time: The Weinstein Company releases the Streep-starring The Iron Lady on Dec. 16, right in the wheelhouse of awards season. She is an early favorite to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.