Kevin Spacey to Host 71st Annual Tony Awards

Kevin Spacey has been picked to host this year’s Tony Awards, putting the award-winning star of “House of Cards” in the unenviable position of steering a telecast surely facing a post-“Hamilton” hangover.

The telecast on June 11 will originate from the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall and producers are sure to be keeping their fingers crossed that they avoid any technical or human snafus that have marred previous awards shows this year, including the wrong winner announced at the Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

Producers also hope Spacey will limit the audience erosion likely from the numbers last year when “Hamilton” drew 8.73 million viewers, up 35% from 2015. Last year’s host was James Corden and 2015 saw Kristin Chenoweth teaming up with Alan Cumming.

The nominations for the 2017 TONY Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 2.

“I was their second choice for ‘Usual Suspects,’ fourth choice for ‘American Beauty’ and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” said Spacey. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”

Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “American Beauty,” and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in “The Usual Suspects.” Recently, he starred in “Elvis & Nixon.” Next, he will be seen in the feature films “Billionaire Boys Club,” “Baby Driver” and “Rebel in the Rye.” Through his former production company Trigger Street, he produced “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, “The Social Network” and “21,” as well having produced the Emmy nominated television series “Recount” and “Bernard & Doris.”

For over a decade, Spacey served as the Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company in London. He recently stepped down from this role, but during his time appeared on stage in productions of “National Anthems,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Speed the Plow,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” and the acclaimed production of the one-man show “Darrow.” Spacey won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his role in “The Iceman Cometh,” as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play in Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers.” Also, he starred in the Broadway and West End productions of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” opposite his mentor Jack Lemmon, as well as the title role in the Sam Mendes production of “Richard III,” which toured 12 cities around the world as part of the three-year Old Vic/BAM/Bridge Project.

This year marks the 71st anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony Award Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys.



Beyonce, Adele Nominated for Top 3 Grammy Awards

Beyonce and Adele are competing in the top three categories at the Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy announced Tuesday that Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Adele’s “25” are nominated for album of the year, along with Drake’s “Views,” Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” and Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.”

For song of the year, Beyonce’s “Formation” and Adele’s “Hello” will battle Lukas Graham’s “7 Years,” Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill In Ibiza” and Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” co-written with Ed Sheeran.

Beyonce, Adele and Lukas Graham’s tunes are also nominated for record of the year, competing with Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” and twenty one pilots’ “Stressed Out.”

Best new artist nominees are Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, the Chainsmokers, Anderson Paak and Kelsea Ballerini.

The Grammys air live on Feb. 12, 2017. (AP)

Beyonce, Adele Nominated for Top 3 Grammy Awards

Beyonce and Adele are competing in the top three categories at the Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy announced Tuesday that Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Adele’s “25” are nominated for album of the year, along with Drake’s “Views,” Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” and Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.”

For song of the year, Beyonce’s “Formation” and Adele’s “Hello” will battle Lukas Graham’s “7 Years,” Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill In Ibiza” and Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” co-written with Ed Sheeran.

Beyonce, Adele and Lukas Graham’s tunes are also nominated for record of the year, competing with Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” and twenty one pilots’ “Stressed Out.”

Best new artist nominees are Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, the Chainsmokers, Anderson Paak and Kelsea Ballerini.

The Grammys air live on Feb. 12, 2017. (AP)


55th Annual Grammy Nominations Announced

This year’s Grammy nominations reflect the state of the music industry this year — lots of big single hits — few big hit albums. Unlike last year, when Adele’s “21” was the big album of the year and she got a lot of nods, this year, the wealth was spread among 6 acts, who ended up with 6 nominations each.

The half-dozen artists with the half dozen nods are .fun, Frank Ocean, Dan Aurebach of The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, as well as rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z. Song of the year nominees were Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” Miguel’s “Adorn,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and fun.’s “We Are Young.” Miguel, The Black Keys and Chick Corea all have five nominations. Nas is among three artists with our nods. And 16 artists have three nods — among them Gotye, Drake, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson and Jack White.

Winners will be announced on February 10 at a live ceremony set for the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Following is a sampling of nominations in 81 categories from the GRAMMY Awards® ’30 Fields:


Album Of The Year:

El Camino — The Black Keys

Some Nights — FUN.

Babel — Mumford & Sons

Channel Orange — Frank Ocean

Blunderbuss — Jack White

Record Of The Year:

“Lonely Boy” — The Black Keys

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” — Kelly Clarkson

“We Are Young” — FUN. featuring Janelle Monáe

“Somebody That I Used To Know” — Gotye Featuring Kimbra

“Thinkin Bout You” — Frank Ocean

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” — Taylor Swift

Best New Artist:

Alabama Shakes


Hunter Hayes

The Lumineers

Frank Ocean

Song Of The Year:

“The A Team” — Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)

“Adorn” — Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)

“Call Me Maybe” — Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” — Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)

“We Are Young” — Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (FUN. featuring Janelle Monáe)


Best Pop Solo Performance:

“Set Fire To The Rain (Live)” — Adele

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” — Kelly Clarkson

“Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen

“Wide Awake” — Katy Perry

“Where Have You Been” — Rihanna

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

“Shake It Out” — Florence & The Machine

“We Are Young” — FUN. featuring Janelle Monáe

“Somebody That I Used To Know” — Gotye Featuring Kimbra

“Sexy And I Know It” — LMFAO

“Payphone” — Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa


Best Dance/Electronica Album:

Wonderland — Steve Aoki

Don’t Think — The Chemical Brothers

> Album Title Goes Here < — Deadmau5

Fire & Ice — Kaskade

Bangarang — Skrillex


Best Rock Performance:

“Hold On” — Alabama Shakes

“Lonely Boy” — The Black Keys

“Charlie Brown” — Coldplay

“I Will Wait” — Mumford & Sons

“We Take Care Of Our Own” — Bruce Springsteen

Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance:

“I’m Alive” — Anthrax

“Love Bites (So Do I)” — Halestorm

“Blood Brothers” — Iron Maiden

“Ghost Walking” — Lamb Of God

“No Reflection” — Marilyn Manson

“Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” — Megadeth

Best Rock Album:

El Camino — The Black Keys

Mylo Xyloto — Coldplay

The 2nd Law — Muse

Wrecking Ball — Bruce Springsteen

Blunderbuss — Jack White


Best Alternative Music Album:

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do — Fiona Apple

Biophilia — Björk

Making Mirrors — Gotye

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming — M83

Bad As Me — Tom Waits


Best R&B Performance:

“Thank You” — Estelle

“Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)” — Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Ledisi

“I Want You” — Luke James

“Adorn” — Miguel

“Climax” — Usher

Best Urban Contemporary Album

Fortune — Chris Brown

Kaleidoscope Dream — Miguel

Channel Orange — Frank Ocean

Best R&B Album:

Black Radio — Robert Glasper Experiment

Back To Love — Anthony Hamilton

Write Me Back — R. Kelly

Beautiful Surprise — Tamia

Open Invitation — Tyrese


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:

“Wild Ones” — Flo Rida Featuring Sia

“No Church In The Wild” — Jay-Z & Kanye West Featuring Frank Ocean & The-Dream

“Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” — John Legend Featuring Ludacris

“Cherry Wine” — Nas Featuring Amy Winehouse

“Talk That Talk” — Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

Best Rap Performance:

“HYFR (Hell Ya F***ing Right)” — Drake Featuring Lil Wayne

“N****s In Paris” — Jay-Z & Kanye West

“Daughters” — Nas

“Mercy” — Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz

“I Do” — Young Jeezy Featuring Jay-Z & André 3000

Best Rap Album:

Take Care — Drake

Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 — Lupe Fiasco

Life Is Good — Nas

Undun — The Roots

God Forgives, I Don’t — Rick Ross

Based On A T.R.U. Story — 2 Chainz


Best Country Solo Performance:

“Home” — Dierks Bentley

“Springsteen” — Eric Church

“Cost Of Livin'” — Ronnie Dunn

“Wanted” — Hunter Hayes

“Over” — Blake Shelton

“Blown Away” — Carrie Underwood

Best Country Album:

Uncaged — Zac Brown Band

Hunter Hayes — Hunter Hayes

Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran — Jamey Johnson

Four The Record — Miranda Lambert

The Time Jumpers — The Time Jumpers


Best Americana Album:

The Carpenter — The Avett Brothers

From The Ground Up — John Fullbright

The Lumineers — The Lumineers

Babel — Mumford & Sons

Slipstream — Bonnie Raitt

Best Blues Album:

33 1/3 — Shemekia Copeland

Locked Down — Dr. John

Let It Burn — Ruthie Foster

And Still I Rise — Heritage Blues Orchestra

Bring It On Home — Joan Osborne


Best Spoken Word Album:

American Grown (Michelle Obama) — Scott Creswell & Dan Zitt, producers (Various Artists)

Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy — Bill Clinton

Drift: The Unmooring Of American Military Power — Rachel Maddow

Seriously…I’m Kidding — Ellen DeGeneres

Society’s Child: My Autobiography — Janis Ian


Best Comedy Album:

Blow Your Pants Off — Jimmy Fallon

Cho Dependent (Live In Concert) — Margaret Cho

In God We Rust — Lewis Black

Kathy Griffin: Seaman 1st Class — Kathy Griffin

Mr. Universe — Jim Gaffigan

Rize Of The Fenix — Tenacious D

This year’s Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominations go to Dan Auerbach, Jeff Bhasker, Diplo, Markus Dravs and Salaam Remi.

This year’s GRAMMY Awards® process registered more than 17,000 submissions over a 12-month eligibility period, Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012. GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Wednesday, Dec. 19 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Wednesday, Jan. 16, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the 55th GRAMMY broadcast.

THE 55TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS® are produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer and Louis J. Horvitz is director.  (CBS, AP)

Grammys Shave Categories From 109 to 78

The Grammys are about to get a lot more competitive: The Recording Academy is reducing the number of categories by more than 30.

It is the Academy’s first overall evaluation in its 53-year history. It reduces the number of categories from 109 to 78 for next year’s ceremony, making the competition much tighter.

The Academy says male and female vocal categories in fields like pop, R&B and country are among those being removed. Men and women will now compete in one overall field.

Material that would have been submitted in the obsolete categories will have a home in other genre categories.

There are also other changes to voting procedures.

The overhaul was announced Wednesday. It comes after the Recording Academy examined its awards structure in 2009.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Stricken Reporter Serene Branson Recalls On-Air Terror

Serene Branson  AP

For KCBS reporter Serene Branson, the first day back at work Thursday was not to report on the news. Serene was the news.

Hundreds of thousands of viewers locally and millions globally witnessed the shocking medical emergency that had many people asking ‘what really happened to her on Grammy night?’

KCBS’ Pat Harvey: Did you feel something funny? Something different earlier before your 11 o’clock live shot?

Serene: I started to get a really bad headache. And I thought ‘you’re tired. It’s been a long day.’ So around 10 o’clock that night I was sitting in my live truck with my field producer and the photographer and I was starting to look at some of my notes and I started to think the words on the page are blurry. And I noticed my thoughts were not forming that they normally do.

P: So you go on the air and you figure this is what I do. ‘I’m a reporter and this is a live shot.’ Did you really feel that could really get you through it?

S: As soon as I opened my mouth I knew something was wrong. So I remember having trouble remembering the word ‘Grammy.’ So I knew what I wanted to say but I didn’t have the words to say it.

P: And at the time you were talking, you were tossing to your pkg (videotaped news story), you know what you were saying was not what you wanted to say?

S: I was aware this isn’t making sense. Right after my live shot, my producer Kerry and several photographers surrounded me right away.

“She basically dropped the microphone and started to shake.” Kerry Maller, CBS2 entertainment producer, recalls the frightening moment. “I went to grab her…I pulled her out of the live shot. I wanted to make sure she was sitting down. It wasn’t our coverage of the Grammys anymore – it was Serene’s health!”

S: They sat me down in an area right in front of Staples (Center), initially gave me water and said ‘are you ok?’ I couldn’t still form words at that point. To be honest with you I started crying right away because I was scared. I was embarrassed; I was terrified and I was confused. What had just happened?

P: Now what were you thinking at that point? I know you were terrified. Did you think you just had a stroke?

S: The word stroke never came into my mind. But medical emergency was in mind, something medically is going wrong. I can’t feel my hand; I can’t feel my cheek. They said ‘don’t worry. We’re calling the paramedics. They’re on the way.’ At this point and I remember turning to Kerry, my field producer, and I said ‘I didn’t get to explain why Lady Gaga was in the egg.’

Pat laughs.

P: That’s what you said? Now we know you’re ok.

S: They checked my vital signs, took me in the ambulance and they checked my blood pressure, my temperature, they took some blood. They said my vital looked normal. At this point I regain my speech. I was still groggy and confused but I could talk again and they said ‘your vital signs look normal. Would you like to go to the hospital?’ At this point, I’m still confused, I’m still scared, terrified. ‘No, I just want to go home. I just want to go home.’

What happened to Serene can affect millions of women of all ages. “75% of people who these symptoms are women.” Serene’s doctor, Neil Martin, head of neurosurgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center says Serene suffered a severe version of a migraine. In her case – a complex migraine. “It’s a sign that something happened in that area of the brain. Our job is to figure out what it was. The kicker is when she said to me ‘my mother had an episode just like this; she got a headache, she couldn’t talk.’”

The doctor says this is often hereditary, but there is good news. It can resolve itself on its own and a patient only needs treatment if it happens over and over again. And in this case, the fact that this happened on live TV could provide very valuable knowledge to researchers.

P: So this is the first you know of?

Dr. Martin: It’s one of the first I’ve ever seen. You get the sense of what it sounds like. You see the shock in her face ‘cause she doesn’t know where it’s coming from. It’s so unusual to have a full video of somebody in the middle of an episode. We’ll probably ask Serene to use this video to train medical students and doctors in the future.

P: To have this happen live and have so many people witness it even before you yourself. So I want to ask you – want to see it?

S: I think it’s probably time.

They both watch the video.

P: That’s what happened. I’m glad you’re laughing.

S: I must say it was shorter than it felt. Felt longer than that.

P: Serene you were trying to charge through that. Power through your live shot and you realize it at the time now you see it.

S: I knew what I was trying to say was ‘let’s take a look’ and I just wanted to get to the video I knew something was wrong. I wanted to get to the video and like you said my cadence…

P:…it was there….

S: That’s what I was trying to say.

P: And the struggle to get that out.

S: And I could see my eyes circling around a little bit too. My eyes didn’t look normal.

P: Now that you’ve seen it what do you think? Did you expect it gets the attention?

S: I know it was clear. Watching it was clear I was not drunk or on drugs as I’ve heard reported out there. It’s clear I’m having a medical condition. Think what resonates with people is the human crisis of it. Or the human element that is she ok? The outpouring of support has been amazing. What’s interesting there’s been people who have emailed me from Canada, New Zealand, France saying ‘I have migraines. What I think you have was a complicated – an episode-related.’ So it happens. People have it out there. So I know I mentioned in the hall we come into people’s lives often the most worst time of their life, or very traumatic tragic time. I’m going to turn this into a positive. If I can at least let people know that I’m ok and talk about the issue and let people know it is something serious it is a medical condition that’s what I would like to do.

P: When are you getting back to work?

S: I need to get ready for the Oscars now pat! So I’m anxious and eager to get back at being back at work and being able to tell the story and not be the story.

Doctors: TV Reporter Suffered Migraine Not Stroke

As a migraine sufferer myself, (and yes it sucks balls!), my mother had actually alerted me to this a few days back. I don’t know if I can fully believe it though – migraines don’t flourish that quick. If it was that bad to begin with, she should have said something beforehand and called in sick. My co-workers can attest me to nearly ‘dying’ of pain and laying my head on my desk and then finally leaving for the day.

A TV reporter who lapsed into gibberish during a live shot outside the Grammys suffered a migraine, her doctors said Thursday.

KCBS-TV reporter Serene Branson was doing a stand-up Sunday outside the Staples Center where the award show was held when her speech became incoherent. The station quickly cut away, and she was examined by paramedics and recovered at home.

Branson’s incoherence fueled Internet speculation that she suffered an on-air stroke. But doctors at the University of California, Los Angeles where she went to get a brain scan and blood work done ruled it out.

Doctors said the kind of migraine Branson suffered can mimic symptoms of a stroke.

“A migraine is not just a headache. It’s a complicated brain event,” said UCLA neurologist Dr. Andrew Charles, who examined Branson.

Most people with migraines don’t have any warning. But about 20 to 30% experience sensations before or during a migraine attack.

The most common sensations include seeing flashes of light or zigzag patterns. In Branson’s case, she felt numbness on the right side of her face that affected her speech, Charles said.

“She was actually having the headache while she was having these other symptoms,” he said.

Branson told doctors she’s had migraines since a child, but never suffered an episode like this before, Charles said.

Branson, a Los Angeles native and two-time Emmy nominee, worked at the CBS affiliate in Sacramento before joining KCBS. Prior to that, she was a reporter and anchor at TV stations in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.

A telephone message left with KCBS was not immediately returned Thursday.

Branson has been medically cleared to resume activities.

“She’s totally normal. She’s completely back to herself,” Charles said.

 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)