Less than 24 hours before the 2012 Grammy Awards, the entertainment world received the shocking news of Whitney Houston's tragic death. This year, on the eve of the 2013 Grammy Awards, CBS and The Recording Academy will present "The Grammys Will Go On: A Death in the Family," a new one-hour special that looks at how the show's producers, host and musical artists "made last-minute changes to the program against the backdrop of these circumstances."
Airing at 9 pm. on Saturday Feb. 9, the special features never-before-seen rehearsal footage and behind-the-scenes interviews with various music artists and the Grammy production team that revisits the extraordinary hours leading up to last year's "The 54th Annual Grammy Awards."
With the untimely death of six-time Grammy Award winner Whitney Houston, the show needed to address many changes, including LL Cool J's opening prayer, Jennifer Hudson's unannounced performance of Houston's Grammy-winning classic "I Will Always Love You," and the last-minute decision to end the show with the closing medley of Paul McCartney's all-star lineup.
"In an ordinary year, The Grammys is a really tough show to produce; it's live and things happen behind-the-scenes at the last minute that you never expect," said Jack Sussman, CBS Executive Vice President Specials, Music and Live Events. "But every year the people behind this show find ways to make eleventh-hour creative adjustments resulting in memorable moments that you only see on the Grammys. This special is a very entertaining peek behind the curtain at the extra-extraordinary circumstances of last year, and how some of the biggest stars in the musical world came together for a television broadcast that will be remembered for many years to come."
"All the people associated with the show had stayed up all night to scramble to move the things around to be able to pay tribute to Whitney," said Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt. "I don't think I've ever been part of anything quite as immediate as that."
"What makes me smile when I think about that night is the love that was in the room - in that huge venue," Academy Award and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson said of her tribute to Houston. "Seeing everyone still celebrate music and each other and Whitney with music! That what the Grammys is. That's what the Grammy represents, and that's what made it a true Grammy night.
"I thought Jennifer did an amazing job for Whitney," said LL Cool J, who hosted the Grammys that evening. "I also had some flashbacks about the things she's been through in her life. It was pretty powerful seeing someone who had been through so much out there giving love to someone else who was no longer here. It was a powerful moment, and I think she was exactly who should have done that."
In addition to Raitt, LL Cool J and Hudson, Grammy Award-winning artists, including Dave Grohl, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Joe Walsh and Chief Creative Officer of Sony BMG Clive Davis, the man who discovered Whitney Houston, all give personal accounts of the hours leading up to the live broadcast.
The Grammy production team, including executive producer Ken Erlich, director Louis J. Horvitz, producer Terry Lickona, President/CEO of the Recording Academy Neil Portnow, talent producer Chantel Sausedo and writer David Wild also provide their perspectives.