The Kennedy Center has tapped White Cherry Entertainment, veteran producers of numerous TV events including the Tony Awards and Emmy Awards, to handle production of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

White Cherry partners Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss have signed a one-year deal with the prestigious event, which airs annually on CBS, that Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter anticipates will usher in a “whole new era” for the event.

Kirshner and Weiss will succeed George Stevens Jr., founding producer of the 37-year-old program, who has spearheaded the event in recent years with son Michael Stevens. The center ended its association with the Stevens duo last year.

“Glenn and Ricky have the right vision to produce an exceptional show,” said Rutter. “We admire the creativity, professionalism and collaborative spirit they will bring to this signature event.” The view was echoed by Kencen chairman David Rubenstein, who also thanked George and Michael Stevens for their leadership and their “extraordinary legacy.”

“It is an honor to be selected to produce this prestigious event,” said Weiss and Kirshner. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of this great program while bringing our own fresh vision to it, as we celebrate the remarkable achievements of the next class of Honorees.”

Rutter said Kirshner and Weiss were among a handful of individuals interviewed for the post. “We felt a natural click with them, and we appreciated their perspective,” she said. Rutter called it premature to speculate about possible format changes with this year’s program, but said one area will definitely not be changed – the program’s time-honored element of surprise talent.

With its post-show banquet and traditional attendance by the U.S. president, the Kencen Honors has become an enormously successful fundraiser for the center and a must-attend for entertainers, politicos and others. Adding to its attraction is a private dinner for honorees, artists and supporters at the U.S. State Department.

George Stevens Jr., who created the event in 1978 with co-producer Nick Vanoff, said he will “look forward to the Kennedy Center Honors continuing to maintain its high standards under the new producers and flourishing far into the future.”

(Pictured: Honorees at the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors)