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SUSSMAN KEEPS HIS
EYE ON THE BALL

CBS went all-in with music broadcasts during the 2021 holiday season. With a handful of new productions and repurposed IP—helmed by EVP, Specials, Music & Live Events, Jack Sussman—music programming dominated the network’s primetime windows through New Year’s Eve.

The performance special Adele: One Night Only, which kicked off the holiday season on 11/14, was watched by 12 million people, making it the biggest music broadcast in years—easily surpassing the 2021 Oscars and Grammys in viewership.

CBS followed up the Adele blockbuster with Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett’s One Last Time, which premiered Thanksgiving weekend, while the 23rd annual Home for the Holidays at the Grove, featuring Justin Bieber and Kane Brown, among other stars, aired on 12/5. Its Christmas-week offerings comprised a re-airing of Adele’s One Night Only on 12/21, The Kennedy Center Honors—with Joni Mitchell and Berry Gordy among the honorees—on 12/22 and a back-to-back replay of A Holly Dolly Christmas and Kenny Rogers: All in for the Gambler on Christmas Eve.

The network ended 2021 with an emphatic return to New Year’s Eve programming: a five-hour broadcast of live country music, Nashville’s Big Bash.

Sussman is now laser-focused on the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, which the Recording Academy and CBS have jointly postponed for a second consecutive year. Moving the telecast out of L.A. in response to Southern California's Omicron surge is a distinct possibility. Will the veteran TV producer set up shop in Sin City for a spring telecast? We’ll see, but one thing’s for certain: The CBS music boss knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

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