Time & People Cancel White House Correspondents’ Dinner Party – Update

Lisa de Moraes
Deadline

UPDATED, March 20: People and Time magazines are the latest to nix their annual White House Correspondents’ dinner pre-party, held on the Friday before the main event.

A spokesperson stated that Time representatives will attend the dinner, but People will make a donation to the association instead of going to the affair.

“This year we have decided to focus on supporting the White House Correspondents’ Association, which plays a crucial role in advocating for the broadest possible access for the press at the White House,” Alan Murray, Time Inc. chief content officer, said in a statement.

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Last month, Bloomberg, who had previously stated that they were going forward with their afterparty, also canceled their plans, stating: “We surveyed some of the past attendees and didn’t get as much interest in a party this year as we’ve had in the past, so we decided to focus on the dinner and the WHCA.”

PREVIOUS, February 3: White House correspondents might become the stars of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner once again, as Hollywood celebrity magnets Vanity Fair and New Yorker announce their decision to take a break from hosting parties bookending the annual POTUS roast dinner.

New Yorker is scrubbing its evening-kickoff party, NYT reported first. Meanwhile, Vanity Fair has withdrawn from co-hosting the afterparty, though co-host Bloomberg L.P. says it is moving ahead with plans. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is set for April 29 at the Hinckley Hilton in D.C.

White House Correspondents' Dinner party scrapped
White House Correspondents' Dinner party scrapped

The party news is sure to further diminish what some Washingtonians refer to as the celebrity stink at the event, which had grown much more pronounced in recent years. This, in turn, might mean more actual journalists will be able to attend the event, after losing seats at their media outlets’ tables to make room for Hollywood names with which the outlets were eager to be associated.

Meanwhile, celebrities might migrate to the alt-White House Correspondents’ Dinner Samantha Bee announced this week. The Full Frontal host’s event, sure to be a robust roasting of President Donald Trump, is being held at the same time on same night, at the Willard hotel.

White House Correspondents' Dinner party scrapped Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks with First Lady Michelle Obama during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC, USA.This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner Photo by Olivier Douliery/ABACA
White House Correspondents' Dinner party scrapped Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks with First Lady Michelle Obama during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC, USA.This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner Photo by Olivier Douliery/ABACA

White House Correspondents’ Association President Jeff Mason issued a statement this week assuring that the event would take place as planned. His letter did not include any announcement as to who will be the night’s host-cum-entertainer. In recent years that role has been filled by comics and/or late-night hosts including Larry Wilmore, Cecily Strong, Joel McHale, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and, famously, Seth Meyers — who in 2011 mocked then-Celebrity Apprentice host/face-of-birther-movement Trump in the audience, though Meyers’ remarks on that front paled in comparison to those of President Obama from the podium.

It’s not an absolute that there will be a comic at this year’s clambake. In 2003, for instance, Ray Charles performed instead;  the official explanation at the time was the recent invasion of Iraq.

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