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Grammys return with prime-time nominee special, albeit at a cozier venue*

September 9, 2009 |  9:41 am


The Recording Academy will unveil the nominees for its 52nd annual Grammy Awards on Dec. 2, once again announcing the honors with a prime-time concert special on CBS. Performers and presenters for the nominee concert, which will air live from downtown's Club Nokia for the East Coast at 8 p.m., have not yet been announced. The Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 31, 2010, at the Staples Center.

Last year marked the first time that the academy revealed its nominees in prime time, attempting to turn a news conference into a national event. Performers included Taylor Swift, B.B. King, Christina Aguilera, the Foo Fighters and John Mayer.

Ratings, however, did not match the star power.

CBS garnered about 7.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, finishing in fourth place for the time period. The numbers left some wondering if CBS and the academy would continue with a prime-time nominee special, yet its return hardly comes as a surprise. Earlier this year, Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow told Pop & Hiss that the nominee concert would in all likelihood return. 

Viewers can expect about six categories to be announced on the special. Not much information was revealed in today's press release, but there is at least one change in store for the 2009 edition. While still taking place at downtown's L.A. Live complex, the Grammy nominee venue has been downgraded from the 7,000-plus-seat Nokia Theater to the more intimate 2,300-capacity Club Nokia. Last year's event was far from a packed house, and discounted tickets were offered in the days leading up to the show. 

The eligibility period for the 2010 Grammys ended Sept. 1 (albums must have been released no later than Aug. 31 to be considered). Pop & Hiss recently began offerings initial Grammy predictions, providing an early look at album of the year contenders.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Mariah Carey performs at the 2008 Grammy nomination concert special. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Updated: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the start time for the nomination special as 9 p.m. EST. It is 8 p.m. EST.