November 30, 2016: Grammys Slated to Return to New York in 2018, Three Dead After Tennessee Wildfires Engulf Resort Town Areas, Multiple Networks and Executives Opt Out of Winter T.C.A. Press Tour, Trump's D.C. Hotel May Violate Lease

By Ian Zelaya November 30, 2016, 7:25 AM EST

1. GRAMMYS SLATED TO RETURN TO NEW YORK IN 2018: After a 15-year residence in Los Angeles, the Grammy Awards will return to New York for the 60th annual ceremony in 2018. The New York Times: “The decision caps months of talks between the de Blasio administration and the Recording Academy to bring the 60th Annual Grammy Awards to the city—an effort that included a burst of last-minute fund-raising from business leaders. The ceremony has bounced between New York and Los Angeles since the first awards were given out in 1959. But the last time the awards were held in New York was in 2003, when the Bloomberg administration persuaded the Recording Academy, the nonprofit that organizes the Grammys, to return to New York after four years in California. The ceremony went back to Los Angeles the following year, and has remained there since. The hurdle in returning to New York this time around was the price tag: The Recording Academy said that producing the awards in New York would cost several million dollars over what it cost in Los Angeles; changing the venue would require bridging that gap. … A formal announcement regarding the 2018 ceremony, which will take place at Madison Square Garden, was expected to be made in the coming weeks by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but those involved in the negotiations and various members of the host committee have been informed of the impending move. On Wednesday, the academy and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment are hosting a dinner in New York to 'discuss the return of the Grammys' to the city in 2018, according to an invitation sent to the host committee members.”

2. THREE DEAD AFTER TENNESSEE WILDFIRES ENGULF RESORT TOWN AREAS: Three people have died in wildfires surrounding Tennessee tourist destinations—including Dollywood—near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. NBC News: “At least 14 fires totaling almost 15,000 acres are burning across Sevier County outside Knoxville, authorities said, ravaging parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge—communities considered the gateways to the national park and home to popular tourist destinations such as Dollywood. Emergency officials said three resorts appeared to be affected: Westgate, Black Bear Falls and Ober Gatlinburg, an amusement park and ski area. But Ober Gatlinburg said Tuesday on Facebook that ‘our property is okay.’ Dollywood—main attraction in the town of Pigeon Forge, named for country music superstar Dolly Parton — wasn't damaged, a spokesman said, but the fire was coming perilously close. The theme park itself wasn't burning, but more than a dozen cabins it manages were damaged. Families staying in 50 rooms at the park's DreamMoore Resort, as well as 19 cabins on the property, had to be evacuated. All evacuations in Pigeon Forge were lifted Tuesday afternoon, and most businesses were open, town officials announced. But Dollywood suspended operations until Friday because it's ‘focusing its efforts for the next two days supporting the community,’ the company said.”

3. MULTIPLE NETWORKS AND EXECUTIVES OPT OUT OF WINTER T.C.A. PRESS TOUR: Networks and platforms including Amazon, Starz, and Netflix—as well as executives from NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox—are skipping the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in January. The Hollywood Reporter: “Instead, insiders say, each of the Big Four networks want to focus on their midseason fare. Sources suggest that the networks will resume executive panels during the summer as they look to heavily promote their 2017-18 fall lineups. The news comes as a recent poll of the TCA membership found that more than 60 percent of members felt it was important to have an executive panel twice a year. The bulk of the news that comes out of TCA largely stems from executive panels in which Bob Greenblatt, Channing Dungey, Gary Newman and Dana Walden, as well as Glenn Geller, are quizzed about trends, returning and new shows as well as hot topics in the industry including Peak TV, dwindling viewership and the struggle to cut through the increasingly cluttered landscape. … Many networks have voiced concerns about the rising costs and questionable value of TCA — as well as the impact on shows that take the time away from production. What was initially conceived as a way for press to have access to executives, producers and talent for both new and returning shows has evolved, given the 24/7 news cycle and digital era. Gone are the days when talent was inaccessible and rarely did press. Instead, comments from the stage can often go viral before a panel ends, given the prolific use of social media during the tour. The latter can make or break shows (and executives).”

4. TRUMP'S D.C. HOTEL MAY VIOLATE LEASE: According to a George Washington University law professor, president-elect Donald Trump's Trump International Hotel is violating its lease that contains a clause that forbids the involvement of elected officials. NPR: “Trump doesn't actually own the landmark building, which was once the headquarters of the U.S. Post Office. In 2013, he signed a 60-year lease for the building with the General Services Administration, which helps manage and support federal agencies. The Trump Organization spent upwards of $200 million on renovations and reopened it as a hotel about a month before the Nov. 8 presidential election. But there's a hitch, according to Steven Schooner, a government procurement expert who is also a law professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Schooner has studied the 100-plus-page contract and says there's a clause that clearly states elected officials should have no role in the lease. Schooner says the GSA should terminate the lease before Trump becomes president. There are a host of reasons to cancel the deal besides the specific language in the contract, according to Schooner. He says foreign diplomats or special-interest groups could book rooms at the Trump International as a way to curry favor with Trump. Once Trump becomes president, he will effectively be both the tenant and the landlord of the building. The administrator of the GSA, an independent body, is also a political appointee.”


COAST TO COAST:  Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo will bring Nintendo-theme areas to Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Japan. According to the company's blog, the areas will be “highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops, and restaurants.” Each will open separately over the next several years. Universal Orlando blog:

To celebrate the home release of The Secret Life of Pets, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has partnered with Amtrak to allow pets to ride for free from December 9-March 31 for trips booked between December 6-11.

ASPEN, COLORADO:  SoulCycle has partnered with Smartwater to host pop-up spin studio Destination Soul from December 22-January 2. The 50-bike studio will be located at Boogie's Diner.

BOSTON:  Eataly Boston is now open at the former Shops at Prudential Center food court. Boston Globe:

CHICAGO:  Health-driven restaurant chain True Food Kitchen has opened its 16th location in River North. The 7,625-square-foot space features an open dining room and kitchen, an earthy color scheme, dining chairs made with recycled soda bottles, and 480 square feet of outdoor patio space.

LAS VEGAS:  The High Roller will offer six New Year’s Eve packages on the wheel: At the top end, the package includes top-tier midnight firework-viewing, a premium bar and champagne toast, a pre-party, priority boarding, and as many as 25 guests per cabin.

LOS ANGELES:  Actress Meryl Streep and costume designer Jeffrey Kurland will be honored with the Distinguished Collaborator Award and Career Achievement Award, respectively, at the 19th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards on February 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The event is presented by Lacoste.

L.A. Dance Project will host its annual gala at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on December 10. The event will feature four pieces from the organization's founding artistic director Benjamin Millepied.

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

MILWAUKEE:  The 50th annual Summerfest will take place June 28-July 9. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and P!nk have been announced as the first two performers.

NEW YORK:  Madison Square Boys & Girls Club will host its 50th annual Christmas Tree Ball on Friday at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Diffa's 20th annual Dining by Design will take place March 16-20 at Pier 92.

Grand Hyatt New York has appointed Lindsay Maddock as assistant food and beverage director.

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

TORONTO:  Niagara Falls's holiday light show will debut new LED lights on Thursday. BlogTO:

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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