Tuesday (Jan. 26) marks the one-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash just hours before the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, which were set to go live at 5 p.m. PT. A helicopter carrying Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers went down in heavy fog in Calabasas, Calif., just after 9:45 a.m. PT. The first reports began circulating shortly after 11 a.m. TMZ broke the story at 11:32 a.m. with a tweet: “BREAKING: Kobe Bryant Has Died In A Helicopter Crash.”
The Grammy dress rehearsal had been underway for about an hour when the news broke. The rehearsal and the show itself were held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Grammys have taken place in all but two years since 2000 — and where Bryant worked his magic with the LA Lakers.
From the moment of the TMZ tweet, the Grammy production team had less than five and a half hours to revamp the show before it went live. And they of course had to continue with the dress rehearsal, which is where they time the show and give the performers any final notes prior to the telecast. So in essence, they just had the couple of hours between the end of dress rehearsal and going live.