Grammy Awards Postponed as Covid-19 Rages in Los Angeles


This year should usher in a new era for the Grammys. Ken Ehrlich, his producer for four decades, resigned after last year’s ceremony. The new show is slated to be produced by Ben Winston, who worked with James Corden. In an interview with Variety last month, Winston said he wanted to “do something pretty exciting with independent venues” to add to this year’s Grammys.

The show is also a major tent pole event for CBS, although audience ratings for the show have dropped. Last year, 18.7 million people watched the Grammys live on television, a 12-year low.

Other major awards ceremonies have tried different approaches with mixed results at different stages of the pandemic. The BET Awards, which will be held in June; the MTV Video Music Awards in August; the Billboard Music Awards in October; and the Latin Grammys were televised without an audience in November, and artists appeared remotely to give and receive awards.

The Country Music Association Awards were held in person in Nashville in November. The live audience consisted mostly of the show’s performers who were socially distant but largely exposed. One month after the award ceremony, the 86-year-old singer Charley Pride died as a result of Covid-19, although it is unknown where he was exposed.

In other industries, the pandemic forced the Emmy Awards to hold a largely virtual event in September. The Tony Awards announced in August that the show would take place online at an unspecified time after the June date was initially postponed.

The Oscars have been postponed by two months from their original February 28th to April 25th, with the format of the ceremony still to be determined. Then, a week after announcing the delay, the Golden Globes said they would instead hold their ceremony, normally scheduled for January, in person – as usual – on February 28 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.