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OMICHRONICLES: GRAMMYS TO MOVE TO MAY OR JUNE?

With Omicron rampant and new COVID cases surging, insiders say that according to internal discussions, it remains possible that the Grammys could be postponed this year as they were last. That said, the show may still go on with its originally scheduled date.

We're told that the organizers are now polling Grammy talent about whether they'd prefer to go ahead on 1/31 or push to May or June.

A key problem is finding a venue that will give the show a two-week window for setup, preproduction and rehearsals. Word is that late-spring or early-summer dates are now on the table and that Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as Staples Center, remains the venue of choice (the NBA and NHL schedules present the most significant complications to booking Crypto).

The Grammy brand, having sustained so much damage in the press over the last few years, can’t take the heat for appearing out of touch or insensitive to the situation, even though the NBA and NFL have moved forward with very few postponements. The Recording Academy sustained a multimillion-dollar hit from lost ticket sales last year for the show and Clive Davis and MusiCares events. The luxury boxes at the former Staples Center throw off millions in revenue.

Given the complexity of mounting a TV awards show with multiple live-music performances, the obstacles to moving the date are many—notably keeping artists, presenters and crew protected amid the most infectious COVID variant yet. Even if this can be achieved, there is the question of how the show could have a live audience at this moment, even if the crowd is masked. Not having an audience, of course, usually results in a much more muted event, and most likely muted ratings. Hence the calculus that waiting for an improved health climate remains the most sensible plan.

One way or another, a decision will have to be made quickly. It’s believed that Harvey Mason, Jr., Jack Sussman, Raj Kapoor and teams will announce their plan very soon. Several scheduled Grammy parties are believed to be on wheels—including Clive’s legendary bash and the big MusiCares event—while others are presently being reconfigured as outdoor gatherings.

Some observers, though, believe the draw of the money may be too great to allow rescheduling, particularly considering the logistical obstacles. It's argued that with games and other large events proceeding, the L.A. County mask mandate in place and an additional requirement of either vaxx proof or a recent negative COVID test, Grammy may simply go forward notwithstanding the surge.

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