Film to Show How Grammys Dealt With Whitney Houston's Death
A behind-the-scenes film on this year's 54th annual Grammy Awards will receive its world premiere June 11 at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, Calif., with Dave Grohl, LL Cool J and Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow scheduled to attend.
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"A Death in the Family: The Show Must Go On," a 26-minute documentary, is the first behind-the-scenes film on the Grammy Awards the Recording Academy has ever created, according to Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Grammy Awards telecast.
The film covers the 48 hours between late Friday afternoon when Paul McCartney's performances were being rearranged, through the news of Whitney Houston's death on Saturday and rehearsals and re-write sessions on Sunday. The telecast attracted 39.9 million viewers making it the second largest audience to watch a Grammy Awards show.
"There was greater interest than normal because of the circumstances, but an awful lot of people want to know about the process," Ehrlich tells Billboard. "We never said, 'let's look back.' It was incredible how much stuff we didn't have because there was little footage other than rehearsals. But we had some B-roll and we lucked out that film crew was following Paul McCartney."
Grammy host LL Cool J, Foo Fighters' Grohl, co-producer Terry Lickona, director Louis J. Horvitz, talent producer Chantel Sausedo, Portnow and Ehrlich -- all of whom appear in the film -- will appear in a Q&A after the screening. Grammy Awards writer David Wild will moderate.
The film also includes interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson and Joe Walsh. "A Death in the Family: The Show Must Go On" will be posted on Grammy.com and plans are afoot to have it screened regularly at the Grammy Museum.
"Maybe we've learned something in this process," Ehrlich says of the film. "Maybe we ought to think about doing this every year. We didn't even think about this one until the middle of March."