Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney among Kennedy Center honorees


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will find some familiar faces when they host The 33rd Kennedy Center Honors. Fellow Chicagoan and campaign supporter Oprah Winfrey is among the honorees, as is Paul McCartney, who recently performed at the White House.

Also receiving the prestigious arts award this year are singer/songwriter Merle Haggard; composer and lyricist Jerry Herman; and dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones.

As has been the case every year since their debut, the Kennedy Center Honors will be tapped (12/5) and broadcast as a TV special by CBS. The airing this year will be on Tuesday, December 28th, 9:00-11:00 pm ET/PT.

“The Kennedy Center celebrates five individuals who have spent their lives enriching, inspiring and elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.  “The honesty of Merle Haggard’s music and poetic lyrics has helped to shape the world of country music for nearly five decades.  Jerry Herman’s musicals rank him in the pantheon of Broadway’s Golden Age and will keep audiences humming along for generations to come.  The inventive style and imaginative artistry of Bill T. Jones has had an invaluable impact on the varied landscapes of dance and theater.  Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most influential and successful songwriters and musicians of all time, whose work has continuously altered both the creation and perception of music all over the world.  For more than 25 years, Oprah Winfrey has established one of the most innovative careers in the entertainment world, with distinctive accomplishments in television and film,” he said.

“The Kennedy Center Honors continues to be an evening like no other and one of the most prestigious telecasts of the television year. The intersection of Washington, New York and Hollywood for this event speaks to the importance of the performing arts to all of us.  We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with the Kennedy Center and privileged each year to be part of a broadcast that honors those whose talents and achievements influence our arts, entertainment and culture in such a profound way,” said CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves.

George Stevens Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 33rd year.   Stevens and his son, Michael Stevens, received Emmy Awards for the second consecutive year for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.  The telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to Broadcasting and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America.