Ricky Kirshner — who has spearheaded every halftime show since 2007 (with Prince) — reveals the biggest challenge of his job and speculates on whether ‘N Sync might be joining Justin Timberlake onstage this Sunday.
Ricky Kirshner can’t rattle off statistics about his résumé. That’s just not how his brain works.Like, if you were to ask how many Emmy Awards he has on his shelf? Who knows. What about DGA trophies? Not sure. Seriously, though, how many times has he seen his name paired with Super Bowl Halftime Show as an executive producer? The number is not important. “There are some things that don’t matter,” Kirshner casually explains to The Hollywood Reporter over the phone from a Manhattan sidewalk. “Those are just numbers. What matters is the experience. The experience is the experience.”
It’s easy to say when you’ve got so much of it.
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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 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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