This year’s American Music Awards show is looking at some big changes behind the scenes, as ABC and Dick Clark Productions are announcing that Jesse Collins — recently of the Grammys and Oscars — is taking over as showrunner and executive producer, starting with the telecast set for Nov. 21 of this year.
Collins has been on quite the roll recently. In the first half of 2021, he produced the Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show, was a co-executive producer of the Grammys, and co-produced the Oscars — as close to a triple crown as you can get in winter and spring TV entertainment events. These followed his production of the 2020 BET Awards, which was regarded by many as the best of the reinvented pandemic-era television awards show broadcasts.
Jesse Collins Entertainment is also being named as a producer of the AMAs, alongside Dick Clark Productions.
By bringing in Collins, Dick Clark Productions and parent company MRC look to be setting a higher creative bar for the fan-voted AMAs show than it’s traditionally had as the fall’s more populist precursor to the wintertime Grammy Awards.
Said MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk, “Jesse and his team bring tremendous creative firepower, expertise that spans multiple genres and formats, and an innovative mindset that makes them our ideal partners to shepherd this show into the future.”
“Jesse is a world-class producer who has incredible foresight and experience in the live-event space, and we cannot wait to see how he evolves the AMAs,” said Rob Mills, executive VP of Walt Disney Television Alternative.
Collins co-executive-produced this year’s well-received Grammy telecast with Ben Winston. Monday’s announcement did not address what Collins’ appointment with the AMAs will mean for his status with the Grammys, although with the shows seen as longtime competitors, it’s unlikely he’d be doing double duty.
Even with the Super Bowl, Grammys and Oscars as recent entries on his resume, Collins may still be best known for the two decades he’s spent working on BET’s awards programs and specials. His credits include “Rhythm + Flow,” “Cardi Tries,” “John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero,” “American Soul,” “Bookmarks,” “Leslie Jones: Time Machine,” “The Bobby Brown Story,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and “Black Girls Rock!”
The move is seen as a sign of MRC taking a more active creative approach a few years into its ownership of Dick Clark Productions, even as the company looks within the industry for a new powerhouse leader for DCP after Amy Thurlow exited as president in June. More high-level announcements are expected in the coming months.
Barry Adelman and Larry Klein remain as Collins’ fellow executive producers on the AMAs.