CNN has obtained the exclusive rights to show the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, this year honoring Adam Sandler.

PBS has broadcast the event for the past 20 years.

CNN will show the ceremony at 8 PM ET on March 26, a week after the March 19 live event.

The ceremony is scheduled to feature Jennifer Aniston, Judd Apatow, Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock and David Spade, among others. Previous honorees have included Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Dave Chappelle.

While the entertainment event is a bit of a departure from CNN’s regular news programming, it comes as the network is reportedly considering plans to fill some of its primetime hours with non-traditional figures, such as a comedian or entertainment personality, or to feature such segments. Sources said that the network, led by CEO Chris Licht,, is looking at a number of options.

Deborah Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said in a statement, “The Mark Twain Prize is a perfect fit for CNN because it showcases a quintessential Washington, D.C. event that brings together politicians from both sides of the aisle, performers, and audiences of all backgrounds for an evening of laughter.” She said that the joint venture with CNN will extend the Kennedy Center’s reach and that it also “broadens CNN’s programming — a true win-win in a city where that phrase is not so common.”

Licht called the ceremony “one of the most uplifting entertaining events of the year, and I am thrilled CNN is partnering with the Kennedy Center to broadcast it to our global audience.” Executive producer of the ceremony is David Jammy and the creative team of Done+Dusted.


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