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THE GRAMMY TROIKA
Meet the Guys Behind Music's Biggest Night: Neil, Ken & Jack

Read our exclusive conversation with the Grammy trio here.


Not that he’s taking his cues from presidential debates, but Neil Portnow won’t tell us what the Recording Academy is working on for a 2018 CBS special. But he does say that it will be big—and different. “We have an idea in mind, but we need a little time to develop it. We didn’t want to rush it. We still have a two-hour special scheduled for 2017. Last year we did the special for Frank Sinatra in December because his family really wanted that to be in December (timed to the centennial of his birth). We’re not stuck with any rules or regulations about when a show runs.” The Recording Academy president and CEO confirmed that there are talks about returning to New York City with the Grammy telecast, though nothing is imminent, that they intend to film a special for CBS after the 2017 Grammys ceremony and that he has never spoken for more than three minutes on the telecast. 


Soon after shooting the Global Citizen concert in Central Park with Rihanna, Major Lazer, Metallica and others in late September, Grammy Awards executive producer Ken Ehrlich shared his thoughts about the 2017 Grammy show and what he learned from February’s show. Right now, Ehrlich says, there are no plans to do a show to launch the Grammy season as they did last year with the Sinatra tribute show or in years prior with annual nominations concerts. They are, however, eyeing a post-Grammys show such as the ones they did honoring the 50th anniversary of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and the 40th anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. “As of now,” says Ehrlich, “there is no specific show.”


Two months before the Grammy nominations are released, all the talk “is from 20,000 feet,” says Jack Sussman, CBS Entertainment’s EVP, Specials, Music and Live Events. “Once the nominations come out, we’ll use those as a foundation to then develop an entire cast of characters to create something fun and unique. [The show] needs to reflect it in as big and broad a way as possible. You do what you need to do to legitimately celebrate that year in music with people you believe are legitimately celebrating this year in music.”  CBS has had its hands full with Grammy scheduling in recent years, moving to Monday in 2016, balancing the Super Bowl in 2015 and preceding the Olympics the year before that. “I think we’re going back to a traditional Sunday Grammy airing,” Sussman says, “and that’s fine.”



**PHOTOS BY CHAPMAN BAEHLER

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