CBS extends contract to air Kennedy Center Honors through 2018

By Daniel S Levine,
The five recipients of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors pose for a photo following a dinner hosted by United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 3, 2011. Back row, from left to right: musician Yo-Yo Ma; actress Meryl Streep; and singer Neil Diamond. Front row, from left to right: musician Sonny Rollins; and actress Barbara Cook. UPI/Ron Sachs/Pool

CBS has been airing the Kennedy Center Honors since it began in 1978 and it looks like it will continue to broadcast the awards, which honor those who have made great contributions to American culture.

CBS and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts agreed to the extension Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

"The Kennedy Center Honors continues to be one of the most prestigious broadcasts on all of television, and we are honored to be its host," CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves said in the announcement, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Moonves called the Honors a “unique event that reinforces our country's collective appreciation for the performing arts with tremendous class, style and, yes, entertainment.”

The 2011 ceremony in December saw Barbara Cook, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and Meryl Streep receive the honor from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The ceremony’s broadcast was down compared to the year before, though, drawing 8.5 million viewers and earning just a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

Still, the new deal ensures that one of the longest active partnerships in television history will continue, notes the Washington Post. Nick Vanoff, who co-created the Honors with George Stevens Jr., has been producing the show since its beginning. For the past five years, he has run the show with Stevens’ son, Michael. The Honors have also won eight Emmys for best variety, musical or comedy special, including the last three in a row.

The deal is just the latest in a line of long-term deals CBS has signed. In June 2011, the network agreed to carry the Grammys through 2021 and last month, they signed on to also carry the Academy of Country Music Awards through 2021.



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