When the Grammy Awards return to Los Angeles on March 14, they’ll arrive with the first major (albeit very limited) red carpet experience the city has seen in a full year.
Five outlets have been credentialed to work the carpet outside Staples Center (next door to the L.A. Convention Center), where crews will conduct in-person interviews with performers, participants and nominees. The confirmed outlets: Entertainment Tonight (with host Kevin Frazier), E! (Live From E! hosted by Giuliana Rancic), People and Entertainment Weekly (Red Carpet Live hosted by Janine Rubenstein and Jeremy Parsons), The Associated Press and the Recording Academy’s official preshow. Outlets will be stationed in “media pods,” or on platforms, separated by partitions.
There will be far fewer bodies, too. In a typical year, stretched across 600 feet of red carpet, it was common for some outlets to have several staffers. This year, they’re permitted only three — the host, their camera operator and one tech liaison. Another area for photography, including a step-and-repeat wall that will give the look of a regular event, will welcome four shutterbugs in lieu of the typical 30. Talent will pose from 15 feet away, and insiders will notice the lack of entourages — as artists are only allowed a plus-one. Personal publicists also are off the list, with CBS and Academy flacks serving as escorts.
Before giving the green light to a red carpet, the academy, CBS and show producers worked with a group of medical advisers for several months to prepare COVID-19 protocols. Those include mandatory testing and face masks, health questionnaires and screenings, social distancing, ever-present sanitation crews, and face shields for anyone coming within 10 to 15 feet of artists. “At every single turn, we have protocols in place to ensure that people are being safe,” says Lourdes Lopez Patton, vp communications at The Recording Academy. “After the year we’ve had, providing a little piece of celebration is very important — but it’s also of utmost importance to keep everyone healthy.”
This story first appeared in the March 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.