The Kennedy Center and CBS Announce New Broadcast Agreement

CBS and the John F. KENNEDY Center for the Performing Arts announced today a new agreement that will keep the annual KENNEDY CENTER HONORS broadcast on CBS through 2025. The new deal further extends one of the longest broadcast partnerships in television history.The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978.

"We're fortunate to have had such great partners in CBS over the history of the KENNEDY Center Honors," said KENNEDY Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Next year we'll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Honors and we look forward to working with CBS to build on its legacy of paying tribute to our most talented performing artists, those who have left an indelible mark on our society's cultural fabric and continue to surprise and inspire us all."

"We're pleased to announce this renewed commitment with CBS," said KENNEDY Center President Deborah F. Rutter. "Each year the CBS broadcast of THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS allows us to bring the best of the performing arts into millions of homes across the nation, providing broad access to the most impactful artists of our time. We're proud to continue this tradition of collaboration with Leslie Moonves and CBS."

Each year, in a star-studded celebration on the KENNEDY Center Opera House stage, the KENNEDY Center Honorees are saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with the President and First Lady, the recipients accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.

"The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS is a prestigious CBS tradition, a major source of company pride, and we want to be its home network for a very long time," said Leslie Moonves, Chairman & CEO, CBS Corporation. "It is a privilege to extend this incredible 39-year partnership with the amazing team at The KENNEDY Center, and continue to honor and celebrate our greatest performing artists well into the next decade."

"The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS is one of the most unique television events of the year, bringing together extraordinary talents from around the world to honor exceptional contributions to the performing arts," said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music, and Live Events, CBS Entertainment. "We are thrilled to partner with the KENNEDY Center to bring this great broadcast tradition to CBS viewers for a very long time."

The KENNEDY Center Honorees are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts - whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television - and are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center's Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

As previously announced, the 39th KENNEDY CENTER HONORS will be broadcast on December 27 at 9 p.m. ET, with multiple award winner Stephen Colbert hosting for the third consecutive year. The honorees are Martha Argerich, Eagles, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, and James Taylor.

The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS broadcast has received 15 Emmy Awards® to date, including five consecutive wins for Outstanding Variety, Musical, or Comedy Special. Also, the program has been recognized by the Peabody Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to Broadcasting, and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America.

Founding Producer George Stevens Jr. co-created THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS in 1978 with Nick Vanoff.


The John F. KENNEDY Center for the Performing Arts, overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., is America's living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Under the guidance of Chairman David M. Rubenstein, and President Deborah F. Rutter, the nine theaters and stages of the nation's busiest performing arts facility attract more than 3 million visitors a year to enjoy more than 3,000 performances, while Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts reach more than 40 million around the world. To further serve as the nation's performing arts center, the Center announced in 2013 a significant expansion project to be constructed south of the existing facility. The KENNEDY Center Expansion is intended to be a place where visitors can more actively engage with artists, while also creating new and much-needed rehearsal, education, and flexible indoor and outdoor event and performance spaces.

Opening its doors on September 8, 1971, the Center produces and presents performances of music, dance, and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the Center's achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in more than 300 theatrical productions, and dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works. The Center has produced and co-produced Annie, the American premiere of LES MISERABLES, the highly acclaimed Sondheim Celebration, a revival production of Side Show, and the KENNEDY Center's world premiere production of the Flaherty/Ahrens musical, Little Dancer. Other important festivals have included: maximum INDIA, Festival of China, Shakespeare in Washington, JAPAN! culture + hyperculture, Nordic Cool 2013, an exploration of the culture of the 22 Arab nations titled ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World, IBERIAN SUITE: global arts remix, and Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media, and most recently during the 2015-2016 season, the Center highlighted Irish culture and its relationship to America with IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture. The Center's Emmy®- and Peabody Award-winning THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS is broadcast annually on the CBS network; The KENNEDY Center Mark Twain Prize airs annually on PBS.

The education programs of the KENNEDY Center, including those of its affiliate VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, have become models for communities across the country and have unlocked the door to learning for millions of young people. Education at the KENNEDY Center produces and presents age appropriate performances and educational events for young people and their families; school and community-based programs that directly impact teachers, students, artists, and school and arts administrators through professional development; systemic and school improvement through arts integrated curricula, inclusive classrooms, and universal design in facilities and learning; creating partnerships around the issues of arts education and arts integrated education; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; and developing careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals.

The Center and its affiliates stage more than 400 free performances of music, dance, and theater by artists from throughout the world each year on the Center's main stages, and every evening at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage. The Center also offers reduced and complimentary tickets to young people, active members of the military, and the underserved through its MyTix program and offers a Specially Priced Tickets program for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, and others with fixed low incomes.

To learn more about the KENNEDY Center, please visit

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