Longtime Grammys Producer Ken Ehrlich Exiting After 2020 Telecast
Next year's telecast will mark Ehrlich’s 40th with the awards show.
Longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich will return to executive produce the upcoming 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony in 2020, but the show will be his last, the Recording Academy said Wednesday.
Following next year’s telecast — Ehrlich’s 40th with the Grammys — the show will be taken over by The Late Late Show With James Corden executive producer Ben Winston, who has signed on to executive produce the 63rd Grammys in 2021.
“Ken's imprint on the Grammy Awards and the music industry are well-known and represent the kind of work and vision that legends are made of," Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement. Portnow is set to step down from his position in August, another sign of the rapid and dramatic changes at the Academy.
He continued, "Having worked closely with Ken for almost half of his tenure with the show, I have seen first-hand the vision, extraordinary musical knowledge and passion he brings to every minute of the process, and the spectacular results and memorable Grammy Moments that have been delivered.”
The announcement comes one day after the 61st annual Grammy Awards broadcast received four nominations, including outstanding variety special (live). It was the second year in a row the show was nominated in that category.
For his part, Winston received five Emmy noms on Tuesday for his work on Late Late Show and two Carpool Karaoke spinoff specials.
Winston's connection with Corden is what first led him into the Grammy orbit. Corden hosted the Grammys in 2017 and 2018, and Winston was credited as consulting producer on the 2017 telecast and producer on last year's installment. (Ehrlich was credited as executive producer both years.) Winston also produced and wrote special material for the 70th annual Tony Awards in 2017, which Corden also hosted.
"To have been a part of the growth of the Grammy Awards into the preeminent music awards show of our time has been one of the highlights of my professional life, and I'm grateful to the Recording Academy and to our partners at CBS for their support and for trusting my vision over the past four decades," said Ehrlich. “I have also been the happy recipient of having an incredible group of people who have worked on the show over the years, and of course the most amazing cadre of musical artists who bring their own creativity and brilliance to the Grammy stage year after year.”
Ehrlich, a nine-time Emmy nominee who produced his first Grammys in 1980, has worked on numerous other live shows and events over the course of his 50-year career, including the Emmys, the MTV Movie Awards and the Latin Grammy Awards. Additionally, he has produced televised music specials for artists including Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, John Legend and Justin Timberlake, and directed the Las Vegas residencies of Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. In 2007, Ehrlich was honored with the Visionary Award by the Producers Guild of America.
Ehrlich has received six of his nine Emmy noms for his work on Grammy telecasts or the Grammy-branded spinoff, The Beatles: The Night That Changed America. The other three were for a 1995 PBS special, Eric Clapton: Nothing But the Blues; the syndicated TV series Fame (1984); and a 1983 children's program for NBC, Grandpa, Will You Run With Me?
Winston is a partner at the production company Fulwell 73 and has served as executive producer on Late Late Show since 2015. During his tenure, he has co-created and executive produced Carpool Karaoke: The Series and executive produced Drop the Mic, both based on recurring Late Late Show segments.
”It's an absolute honor to be executive producer of the Grammys for 2021," said Winston. "I feel excitement and nerves in equal measure on taking on this role, but mostly I feel immense gratitude to the Recording Academy for this wonderful opportunity. I also want to salute Ken, who has done an absolutely remarkable job over the last 40 years."
Winston has additionally produced music specials for artists such as Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Harry Styles and executive produced live events including the Tony Awards, the BRIT Awards and the Global Citizen Nelson Mandela 100 Concert in South Africa headlined by Beyoncé and Jay-Z. He is the recipient of six Emmy Awards and has been nominated 22 times.
With Ehrlich's planned departure, coming about six months after Portnow's imminent exit, two of the three principals who long oversaw the Grammy telecast will have left. That leaves just one member of that long-term troika standing — Jack Sussman, executive vp specials, music and live events, CBS Entertainment. Sussman has held that title since March 2006, and he has been head of CBS specials since 1998, which extends back into the administration of Mike Greene, Portnow's predecessor as president/CEO of the Recording Academy.
The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards are slated to air Jan. 26, 2020, on CBS.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.