Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney Among Kennedy Center Honorees

Bill T. Jones, Merle Haggard and Jerry Herman will also be honored Dec. 5

oprah winfreyOprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Bill T. Jones, Merle Haggard and Jerry Herman are this year's Kennedy Center honorees, announced Tuesday.

"I love surprising people, I don't like being surprised," Winfrey told The Associated Press. "Releasing any kind of control over a show and allowing myself to sit there and be surprised is not going to be easy but I'm willing to do that."

The Kennedy Center Honors recognize performing artists for their contributions to American culture. Winners are selected by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees. The ceremony is set for Dec. 5, and will be broadcast as a two-hour CBS special Dec. 28.

McCartney had been named to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 but backed out because of a personal obligation.

President Barack Obama and the first lady will host the 2010 honorees at the White House before attending the gala with them at the Kennedy Center.