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Grammys grab primetime gig

Nominations unveiled during CBS' 'Concert'

The Grammy Awards are taking their nominations to primetime, quite possibly at the expense of news coverage.

In a first for the Recording Academy, noms in at least six categories will be announced during “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night,” which CBS will broadcast Dec. 3. The concert, to be held in the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live, will celebrate the opening of the Grammy Museum in the complex.

It is the first time the Grammy noms have been delivered in primetime and the first significant move by a peer awards body to stem the declining interest in kudocasts.

The televised one-hour concert will feature past Grammy winners and nominees who will give performances and then announce nominations in several categories. Event, which starts at 6 p.m. on the West Coast and airs live in the East, will be followed by an hourlong concert by one of the evening’s performers and then a gala for the opening of the museum. Tickets will be available to the public for all the events.

The show will include segments on the museum and its collection. Its opening week of festivities starts with the televised concert. Last year, CBS aired a 50th anniversary special on the Grammys that was strictly historical; the concert show gives the Recording Academy the opportunity to combine history with current recordings.

Grammy nominations are usually announced about 8:30 a.m. in the host city about 2½ months prior to the ceremony. Unlike the Oscar announcement, it is not carried live by the morning news programs. The Grammy org generally has about 10 artists on hand for the announcement who then do interviews, mostly for various TV news and entertainment programs.

By announcing the full slate of noms — about 110 categories — at 7 p.m. in Los Angeles, the org will force many East Coast publications to move deadlines or reduce coverage, especially any daily that intends to print any or all of the list. For TV’s entertainment newsmags, Grammy noms will be about 24 hours old by the time the next episode airs and may get bumped.

The televised concert will give the Grammys a leg up in one arena, the morning news programs, especially CBS’ “The Early Show,” which will have the night to assemble packages featuring artists who attend the nominations concert.

An insider said Grammy org officials were predicting that news coverage of the noms was most likely migrating to the Internet, bolstering the notion that the nighttime announcement would have more impact than news stories and analysis a day later.

The Grammy Awards, like many kudocasts, have had ratings struggles. The 50th annual kudocast, held in February, attracted their smallest overall audience since 1995. At its peak, the show was watched by 20.1 million viewers. Among adults 18-49, the 50th Grammys came in 20% lower than the previous year.

The concert will be televised at the peak time of year for music purchases. Oscar noms get mentioned in newspaper ads the day after the noms are announced, but it can take a week or so before retailers and labels unleash Grammy-driven sales campaigns.

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