Ken Ehrlich is a television producer and director. He has been the producer of the Grammy Awards since 1980, and has recently come under fire for his comments about Ariana Grande and whether or not she will perform at the upcoming award show.
Grande tweeted out that Ehrlich “stifled” her creativity and it was due to his lack of support that she chose not to perform. She also criticized Ehrlich for being a liar and for attempting to make her decision to not perform seem as though it was because she couldn’t be ready in time. Read on to learn more about Ehrlich and the situation involving Grande below.
1. He Began Producing Television In 1974 & the Grammy Awards In 1980
Ehrlich, 76, has spent the past several decades working for various television networks. After graduating with a B.A. in journalism from Ohio University, he moved to Chicago in 1974 to start work on the PBS music series Soundstage. From there, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took over as the producer of the Grammy Awards telecast in 1980.
According to , Ehrlich created the concept of “Grammy moments”, which have included memorable performances by artists like Prince, Aretha Franklin, Simon & Garfunkel, and the famous duet between Eminem and Elton John. “You know, those things kind of make sense,” he told WBur about working with these artists.
“You know that if you put your faith in the artists and what they’ve come to do to a certain extent, not always with us, is put their faith in us, cause they know that we will try and take care of them to the best of our ability, that the potential for something really special is there,” he added.
2. He Claimed That Ariana Grande ‘Couldn’t Pull Something Together In Time’ for the Upcoming Grammy Awards
While many assumed that Ariana Grande would be performing at the upcoming Grammy Awards, Ehrlich spoke to the Associated Press and revealed that this would not be the case. He said that Grande did not appear to have the time needed to put a performance together. “As it turned out when we finally got the point where we thought maybe it would work, she felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure,” he explained. “And it’s too bad. She’s a great artist. And I’d love to get her in the show this year.”
Ehrlich’s comments came on the heels of a Variety report that said Grande pulled out of her Grammy performance due to creative disagreements. A source close to the singer told Variety that she felt “insulted” after producers initially refused to allow her to perform her latest single “7 Rings.”
A compromise was eventually reached regarding the single, but Grande walked away when producers insisted that the second song be of their choosing and not her own. Grande has already been featured prominently on Billboards and advertisements for the upcoming Grammy ceremony.
3. He’s Produced Several Additional Primetime Specials & PPV Events
In addition to his tenure as the Grammys producer, Ehrlich has showcased his talent in a number of primetime specials. Among the most notable he has headed up are The Sports Illustrated 20th Century Sports Awards, In Performance at the White House: Music of the Civil Rights Movement, Mandela Freedomfest, and The Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary PPV special in 2012.
In 2014, Ehrlich produced The Beatles: The Night that Changed America, which was a star-studded tribute to the titular band and the 50th anniversary of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The tribute was a massive success, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety Special. During an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Ehrlich spoke on the difficulty of putting the Beatles special together.
“A tribute show featuring other artists playing Beatles songs is not necessarily a new thought, especially for us,” he said. “We wanted to figure out who would be the contemporary translators of who The Beatles were. To book it with an idea towards who could pull those songs off, and do them justice. It’s an awesome responsibility. It was not easy. There were a number of acts we could have had that we didn’t book, because I was worried what they would do to the songs. At the end of the day, I was very pleased with all the performances.”
4. He’s Been the Recipient of a Golden Globe Award & a Star On the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Ehrlich has received numerous honors throughout his career. He’s been nominated for five Grammy Awards, and has received one Golden Globe Award and the Producer’s Guild of America Visionary Award in 2007.
In 2015, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Ehrlich with the 2,541st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star in the category of Television was dedicated in front of the historic Capitol Records Building at 1750 N. Vine Street. While the link on the official Hollywood Walk of Fame site has been broken, the description for Ehrlich, written by Chamber of Commerce President Leron Gubler, reads:
It is time we honor the man who successfully elevated and transformed the artists and their music we love into memorable moments on live Television. Ken Ehrlich’s magical productions have touched millions of people watching these shows around the world and we are pleased to welcome him to our family of stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Among the celebrities in attendance at the Walk of Fame unveiling were John Legend, Stevie Wonder, LL Cool J and Smokey Robinson.
5. Grande Called Him a ‘Liar’ After Denying His Official Press Statement
Shortly after Ehrlich announced that Grande wouldn’t be performing, the singer took to Twitter to give her side of the story. She called Ehrlich out for being a liar, and accused him of stifling her creativity in a way that was not enforced onto the other Grammy performers.
“I’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me,” Grande tweeted. “I can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. It was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend. I hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more.” Grande went on to say that Ehrlich did not allow her to feel supported leading up to the planned performance.
“I offered 3 different songs,” she added. “it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. It’s about art and honesty. Not politics. Not doing favors or playing games. It’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me.” Ehrlich has not yet commented.