×

George Stevens Jr. to End 37-Year Run as Kennedy Center Honors Producer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — George Stevens Jr. had a surprise for the crowd at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on Sunday: This year’s event will mark has last as producer of the glitzy annual tribute to performing arts legends.

Stevens created the annual KenCen Honors, an event that has become a year-end TV staple as a CBS special and a prestigious kudo for actors, musicians, dancers and other performing arts notables. It’s also the major annual fundraiser for the Kennedy Center.

Stevens spoke to the crowd after the intermission at the gala feting Tom Hanks, Al Green, Sting, Lily Tomlin and dancer Patricia McBride. Stephen Colbert, who is in line to take over CBS’ “The Late Show” from David Letterman next year, served as host.

Stevens, 82, said he’d been told by Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein that the Honors needed a new producer.

Stevens has produced the event and CBS telecast since its inception in 1978. His son Michael has worked alongside him as co-producer since 2008 but will also be ending his run after this year’s show. George Stevens praised the various artists who have worked on the committee to select each year’s honorees, and he praised his son’s contributions and those of their crew.

“Michael and I have had an amazing team,” Stevens said. “We’ve tried our best to invest this program with integrity.”

Stevens received a standing ovation from the crowd, which draws a who’s who of Washington and showbiz elite including President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

In a statement, the Kennedy Center noted that 2014 marked the final year in Stevens’ most recent contract with the org.

“The Kennedy Center is enormously grateful for the contributions George and his son Michael have made to the Honors over the years,” the org said. “The Kennedy Center Honors have grown in stature over the past 37 years to become the preeminent recognition of the performing arts in America. With tonight’s news, the Kennedy Center will begin a search for an Honors producer that will build upon this strong foundation in the years to come.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • BritBox Is 'Not a Rival to

    BritBox 'Not a Rival to Netflix and Amazon' but Something Different, ITV Exec Says

    BritBox, ITV and the BBC’s joint “best of British” streaming service, is not being positioned as a rival to Netflix and Amazon but offers something those two streaming giants don’t, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Friday, Lygo said BritBox would be a “different thing” that allowed [...]

  • Stefano Sollima for Web Story

    'ZeroZeroZero' Creator on Making an Old Story New and How Andrea Riseborough Got Hurt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stefano Sollima, the Italian director known in Hollywood for “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and TV show “Gomorrah,” is the main creative force behind cocaine-trafficking series “ZeroZeroZero,” which will world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 5. Festival chief Alberto Barbera has praised it as blowing “Narcos” out of the water. Sollima directed [...]

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content