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How Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance Will Come Together & Launch Him Into The Stratosphere

Whether Justin Timberlake manages to bring divided football fans together with his Super Bowl LII Halftime Show performance remains to be seen, but the man calling the production shots says JT is precisely the superstar to play Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium Feb. 4.
“Justin’s the perfect act for this because we honestly could just put the camera on him for 12 minutes and no one would care,” Ricky Kirshner, who has executive produced the halftime show since 2007, told Pollstar. “But you know, it’s the Super Bowl so we feel like we have to make it a little bigger.”
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Ricky Kirshner on What It’s Like to Produce the Halftime Show for a 12th Time

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Super Bowl Halftime Producer Ricky Kirshner on Assembling the Year’s Biggest Concert

One might think that after producing the Super Bowl halftime show for 12 years straight, Kirshner Events founder Ricky Kirshner and his team might be able to run the thing more or less on auto pilot. But, as he points out, with a different location each year come different challenges for country’s most-watched music event.

Case in point: With Super Bowl LII taking place in Minneapolis this Sunday (Feb. 4), Kirshner’s crew is dealing with snow and freezing weather conditions outside the U.S. Bank Stadium while putting together Justin Timberlake‘s performance indoors. That’s a stark contrast from the mid-70s they saw in Houston last year, creating new difficulties when you have just eight minutes to assemble the stage. Whereas in Houston they had a long train of carts that were lined up outside and brought inside for rehearsals and the actual show itself, that sort of staging area wasn’t possible this year.

“When designing the show you need to take into account the venue and we know even six months out that we could be on show day and have 12 inches of snow,” says Kirshner, who has also produced the last five Democratic National Conventions and the last 15 Tony Awards. “So this show’s designed more to try and get our stuff in the building prior.”

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Super Bowl Halftime Producer Talks Justin Timberlake, Prince, and Confirms: ‘There Was Never a Hologram’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Super Bowl Halftime producer Ricky Kirshner proudly is not on social media and even admits to still using a flip-phone. But there was no avoiding the barrage of rumors the day before Sunday’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis stemming from a single unconfirmed TMZ report that halftime performer Justin Timberlake would incorporate a hologram of the late, legendary Twin Cities native Prince into his set.

The story posted in the wee hours of Saturday morning, quickly spread onto other sites and by afternoon even Prince’s longtime friend and collaborator Sheila E. had weighed in, tweeting “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me. Not cool if this happens!” The rumor gained momentum all day — with reps for the Super Bowl and Timberlake declining comment — until ultimately it was Sheila who calmed the situation, some eight hours after her initial Tweet, posting: “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram.”

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Super Bowl LI Halftime Show was the most-watched musical event in history!

The NFL today announced that the PEPSI ZERO SUGAR SUPER BOWL LI HALFTIME SHOW featuring global superstar LADY GAGA is the most-watched musical event of all-time across all platforms and the most-watched Super Bowl halftime performance in history through broadcast and digital channels.

Nearly 118 million viewers tuned into the performance on the FOX broadcast network. In addition, Lady Gaga’s performance at NRG Stadium in Houston is the most-viewed content on NFL’s digital platforms, including but not limited to, NFL Mobile, Twitter, YouTube, and Giphy. Through these channels, the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show reached at least 150 million unique people, garnering more than 80 million views and totaling 260 million minutes watched.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with Lady Gaga – one of the most talented and versatile performers in the world – on the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show,” said Mark Quenzel, NFL Network’s Senior Vice President of Programming and Production. “The Halftime show provides the ultimate world stage for an artist. Through her incredible music, choreography and unifying message, Lady Gaga created a unique performance that will remembered for years to come.”

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How to produce a Democratic convention? Ask RKP!

PHILADELPHIA – Seven months away from the Democratic national convention, organizers have already opened a Philadelphia office, held a series of town hall meetings with local businesses, given the national media a tour of the Wells Fargo Center and assigned every state delegation a hotel.

The show’s co-producer Ricky Kirshner and the convention committee’s CEO, Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, provided some updates to The Inquirer on what the early planning process for the July 25-28 convention is like from the director’s chair.

Kirshner knows how it’s done: He has produced every Democratic national convention since 1992.

The son of late TV rock legend Don Kirshner, he has also been at the helm of several Super Bowl halftime shows (including the upcoming 50th) and the Tony Awards.

Daughtry, too, knows conventions. She headed the Convention Committee in 2008, when President Obama was first nominated, and has worked on several others. She has said this DNC will be the most diverse in history and as part of that goal, the committee aims to award 35 percent of contracts to minority, female and LGBT-owned businesses.

Read the whole interview here.

DNCC Names Executive Producers for 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today announced that Emmy Award winning producer Ricky Kirshner and seasoned creative producer Vicangelo Bulluck will serve as Executive Producers for the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Together, Kirshner and Bulluck will craft and implement a program to transform the Wells Fargo Center into the most engaging, innovative, and forward looking Convention in history. As Executive Producers, the pair will be responsible for the overall look and execution of the Convention program including the design, staging, lighting, audio and entertainment.

“Come July 2016, the world’s spotlight will shine on Philadelphia and the Democratic Party,” said Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. “We are confident that this production team will give us a winning combination of experience, professionalism, and fresh ideas that will give our attendees and viewers at home a stellar experience.”

“It is a great honor to once again be a part of the DNCC Production Team,” said Kirshner. “We look forward to bringing to the world the message of the party and our nominee in many new, fresh, and exciting ways.”

Kirshner has produced the Super Bowl Pregame and Halftime Show (the most watched TV event of the year)- touting a record which features artists like Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars since 2007.  Kirshner has also produced many Emmy-winning Tony Awards shows from 1993 through 2015.

“The 67th Annual Tony Awards” wins big at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards

For the fifth consecutive year, “The 67th Annual Tony Awards” won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Program. The Tony’s also won for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, for which Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt took home their first Emmy awards. Glenn Weiss took home another Emmy for directing the show.

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment have acted as executive producers of the Tony Awards telecast since 2004. During White Cherry’s tenure, the Tony Awards have been recognized with an unprecedented 34 Emmy nominations and 18 Emmy wins, including the best show in its class for the last 5 consecutive years, and 7 of the last 8 outings.  That recognition is far more than any time in Tony Awards history and is unparalleled by any other awards show today.


RKP shows are nominated for NINE 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards!

The 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced this morning, and Ricky Kirshner’s shows received a total of 9 nods!

The Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show featuring Bruno Mars is nominated in the Outstanding Special Class Program category (short format live-action) and for Outstanding Lighting Design. The 67th Annual Tony Awards is nominated for Outstanding Special Class Program, Directing, Writing, Lighting Design, Technical Direction, Music Direction, and Original Music/Lyrics.

Check out the full list of nominations here!