The 800-pound gorilla in the ever-changing Las Vegas entertainment landscape has everyone’s attention.
“For producers of entertainment in Vegas, for what we do, live entertainment, we’ve lost ground because of the nightclub, EDM (electronic dance music), DJ business,” John Meglen said after the introduction Wednesday of the Strip’s newest headliner act: the teaming up of country powerhouses Reba McEntire and Brooks &Dunn.
For most of the Strip’s existence, it’s been all about big names and hot shows.
That dynamic has changed and it’s a challenge, according to Meglen, president of global touring for AEG Live, which operates The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
In the not-too-distant past, AEG would lock up resident headliners for years.
“But the model of today is more artists, lesser number of shows,” Meglen said.
“I mean look at where we have come from: Celine (Dion)with 200 shows a year, and when that happened we had room for one other artist. Now we’ve got five artists rotating in the scheduling.”
Strategies and circumstances change, he said, “But people can’t forget this is still a town of, to me, of Middle America, everything between New York and L.A.
“So we need to continue bringing iconic headliners, you know, for those people. Not everybody who comes here wants to be at a rave pool all day and a club all night. It’s a hot thing right now in the marketplace, but this is still the main vein: iconic superstars who you can see up close.
“The entertainment challenge has been, and it isn’t that such a big population wants to go to those clubs. …
“It’s so much of a spotlight thing. I think our job is to push harder for the headliners to be in the spotlight, because I really believe the headliners have the bigger marketability.”
Meglen confirmed AEG has courted Jennifer Lopez, but “we just haven’t been able to. …” he said, pausing. “Her schedule is … you can imagine with the multiple artists we have in here, all these different residencies, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”
THE SCENE AND HEARD
In the latest moves at KSNV-TV, Channel 3, Mark Neerman is back in Las Vegas for a second go-around as a news director. He held the title at KVVU-TV, Channel 5 from 2004 to 2006 before moving to San Francisco to join an NBC affiliate. After decades under Jim Rogers, who died in June, KSNV was recently purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group. During his stint at KVVU, Neerman hired Jason Feinberg and Monica Jackson, elevated John Huck to main anchor and created “The Rant.” …
The first question — yes, first — asked at the Caesars Palace headliner announcement had eyeballs rolling. A local TV reporter asked McEntire and Brooks &Dunn, “My name is Maria. Will you be performing ‘My Maria’ onstage?’ ”
McEntire, playfully breaking into a walk-like-an-Egyptian pose when cameras popped up as she approached the entrance of The Palm (Forum Shops at Caesars) after the headliner announcement on Wednesday. She was joining Brooks &Dunn for lunch. They dined at Rao’s (Caesars) on Tuesday. … Actor Adrian Zmed, singing “Summer Nights” with Olivia Newton-John during her Tuesday show at the Flamingo. Zmed played Danny in “Grease” on Broadway and had the role of Johnny Nogerelli in “Grease 2.”
THE PUNCH LINE
“The University of Alabama-Birmingham has decided to discontinue its football team. When they heard this news, New York Jets fans said, ‘Wait, can you do that?’ ” — Conan O’Brien
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter.