February 7, 2019: Last Year's Oscars-Winning Actors Will Present After Snubbing Controversy, How the Grammys Balance Awards and Performances, Cirque du Soleil Acquires Magic Show Franchise

By Ian Zelaya February 7, 2019, 9:00 AM EST

1. LAST YEAR'S OSCARS-WINNING ACTORS WILL PRESENT AFTER SNUBBING CONTROVERSY: While it's tradition for the Oscars-winning actors of the previous year to present at the following ceremony, there were rumbles that the actors—Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, and Gary Oldman—weren't asked in favor of other celebrities. But after complaints, including from Janney herself, the Oscars tweeted that the four winners would be presenters at this year's ceremony. The Hollywood Reporter: “The pairings would solve the latest public relations stumble that the Academy has weathered this season. ... But, initially, when reps for Janney and Rockwell reached out to the Academy, they were told that the two performers would not be part of this year’s ceremony, according to sources. No immediate explanation was offered, beyond the fact that the show’s producers, Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, were looking to shake things up, although reports began to circulate that the Academy was looking for bigger stars to do the honors. In a comment Janney posted Sunday on Instagram and subsequently deleted, the actress said, 'It looks like they are not going to honor the tradition this year. It breaks my heart.' As that word spread, though, several leading Academy members voiced their concerns to the organization’s current leadership, saying that if that plan was true, it would trigger a loud backlash."

2. HOW THE GRAMMYS BALANCE AWARDS AND PERFORMANCES: Like many award show telecasts, the Grammys have experienced a decline in viewership. But for the 61st annual ceremony on Sunday, the show has seemingly found a balance between the performances and awards that will air. The show plans to air about 10 major awards and will emphasize high-profile performances and tributes. CNN: “The Grammy format has 'evolved over the last decade or so, as audience desire has changed and shifted,' said Jack Sussman, CBS' executive vice president of specials, music, and live events. Sussman acknowledged that the overall surplus of award shows is a likely factor in declining ratings, diluting the experience. But he stressed that a few major awards presented by industry peers—the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys being the others—still possess a level of prestige that sets them apart. Although the number of on-air awards has declined, the Grammys remain committed to providing a broader celebration of the year in music, as well as tributes that offer performance opportunities. This year, the latter includes segments devoted to Motown's 60th anniversary (the subject of a stand-alone special that will be taped next week and broadcast in April) and Dolly Parton."

3. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ACQUIRES MAGIC SHOW FRANCHISE: Cirque du Soleil is continuing to expand its umbrella of entertainment offerings. The performing arts group has acquired the Works Entertainment, a company responsible for magic shows including the Illusionists. Cirque du Soleil also acquired the Blue Man Group in 2017. The New York Times: “Its purchase of the creators of the Illusionists, which has brought live magic to Broadway and other world stages, will be one of its first forays into magic. ‘The play for us is magic,’ said Daniel Lamarre, the president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil. He said Cirque became interested in the Works because of the similarity in the performance and business models of the two companies. … Scalability has been the key to Cirque’s model; the company sells 17 million tickets annually to its various shows, which have been in 450 cities. The terms of the deal with the Works weren’t publicly released, but Mr. Lamarre said the price was ‘around $40 million.”


COAST TO COAST:  Group Nine Media will launch its first-ever “Nine-Fronts,” a multi-city content presentation series about the company’s storytelling and data insights. The first phase of the series will travel to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, and Boston. 

The sixth annual National Canadian Film Day, presented by Reel Canada, will take place April 17. More than 800 Canadian film screenings and events are slated to take place across Canada and internationally. 

ATLANTA:  Sports and entertainment marketing agency Melt will sponsor the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual Business of Sports Summit, taking place March 21 at the College Football Hall of Fame. 

CHICAGO:  Brothers and Sisters, a new bottle shop, eatery, and market in the Ukrainian Village, has launched catering services. The menu is created by chef Jonny Hunter of Madison’s Underground Food Collective, and offers sandwiches and cheese and charcuterie platters. 

LOS ANGELES:  Kelly Rowland will host the 12th annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, taking place February 21 at the Beverly Wilshire. 

Disney-ABC Television Group’s executive vice president of global communications, Kevin Brockman, is stepping down after 22 years. He'll stay on during the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, after which his role is being eliminated.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The second edition of Watches & Wonders Miami will take place February 14-17 in the Miami Design District. The watch exhibition is presented by the Fondation Haute Horlogerie in partnership with the Miami Design District Associates. 

The 23rd annual American Black Film Festival will take place June 12-16 in Miami Beach. The event will open with the premiere of New Line Cinema's Shaft reboot. 

NEW YORK:  The 59th annual New York International Antiquarian Book Fair will take place March 7-10 at the Park Avenue Armory. The event will feature 217 antiquarian book dealers representing 16 countries. 

The 14th Street Y will hold its annual Purim Gala on March 14 at Cipriani 25 Broadway. The event will honor Union Square Partnership and executive director Jennifer Falk. 

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has appointed Henry Timms president and chief executive officer. 

The Louis Armstrong House Museum has named Kenyon Victor Adams director of the organization. Adams has served as the founding arts initiative director of the Grace Farms Foundation since 2015. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE:  The third annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival will take place April 24-28 at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. 

PORTLAND, MAINE:  Diversified Communications, a media company with a portfolio of face-to-face exhibitions and conferences, has promoted Mary Larkin to president of the company’s U.S. operating division. 

TORONTO:  The seventh annual Toronto Black Film Festival will take place February 13-19 at venues including Isabel Bader Theatre, Carlton Cinema, Jackman Hall at Art Gallery of Ontario, and Arts Square Gallery Cafe. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance will hold its annual Turn Up the Heat culinary experience on March 5 at the Anthem. Ovarian cancer survivor Elle Simone Scott of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS will emcee the event, which honors Washington-based female chefs, restaurateurs, and mixologists. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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