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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame replacing live ceremony with virtual event

Whitney Houston is one of this year's inductees

Whitney Houston is one of this year's inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which earlier this year said it was postponing its scheduled May 2 induction ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is replacing its annual live event with an HBO special set for Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. It will additionally stream on the recently launched HBO Max.

"To protect the health and safety of our Inductees, their families, crews and our attendees, we’ve made the decision that the scheduled live event is not possible," said Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation chairman John Sykes in a statement. "Together with HBO and executive producer Joel Gallen, we will still create an exciting program honoring our 2020 inductees, by telling the stories of their incredible contributions to music and impact on a generation of artists that followed them.”

HBO, which has aired the induction ceremony as a special for several years, gave no description of the planned upcoming version nor what it would include.

Those who purchased tickets to the ceremony via Ticketmaster will automatically be issued a refund, the Rock Hall said.

The previously announced 2020 inductees are the late solo stars Whitney Houston and Brooklyn native The Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace; and the bands Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T. Rex. Additionally, music executives Irving Azoff and Jon Landau will each receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which is presented to industry professionals who have had a major influence on rock and roll. This will be the 35th annual ceremony.

The Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland, had announced in March: "The health and safety of our fans and visitors is our highest priority. Given recent news regarding coronavirus and the urging by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine regarding large public gatherings, we have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Induction Week festivities until later this year."

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