The Recording Academy
After two consecutive years of Grammy Awards TV ratings that were the best in the decade-26.6 million viewers in 2011, 25.9 million in 2010, according to Nielsen-Neil Portnow made the most dramatic decision of his nine-year tenure atop the organization: He approved a reduction in the number of award categories to 78 from 110. Portnow, under contract through 2015, and the Academy fended off threats of lawsuits and boycotts, none of which put any dent in the new structure. “I think the positive side is we’ve taken a good, serious look at what we’re doing,” Portnow said in April when the changes were made. “We contemporized it, we organized it, and we envisioned it in a way that will suit us going into the future.” Meanwhile, the former Zomba Group executive continues to oversee the music industry’s most prominent night of TV programming, along with Ken Ehrlich and CBS brass, and develop the identity of the Grammy nominations concert special. Portnow has developed record levels of corporate sponsorships and partnerships, as well as the Grammy nominees album that rotates among labels; he’s expanded the Producers & Engineers Wing; and he launched the Grammy University Network, which has a 4,000-strong membership.
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