People's Choice Awards get writers strike makeover
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - And the winner is ... on videotape only. Producers of the People's Choice Awards, an annual televised coronation of favorite TV and film stars chosen by the public, said on Wednesday the upcoming show will be presented in a new prerecorded "magazine"-style format because of the Hollywood writers strike.
Announcement of the change came a day after the Writers Guild of America said it would refuse to grant special waivers to allow organizers of the more prestigious Oscars and Golden Globe Awards to hire union writers for their shows.
The usual live format for the People's Choice Awards, which would have been held at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, with winners taking the stage to accept their awards as announced, has been scrapped, along with the traditional red carpet.
Instead, the two-hour CBS broadcast on January 8 will consist of host Queen Latifah appearing in prerecorded segments, introducing a string of video clips of nominees and winners, who will be contacted in advance to tape thank-you speeches.
The make-over of the 34-year-old awards gala was prompted by difficulties posed by studios' labor dispute with the WGA, whose members are barred from working on any show considered a "struck production" by the union.
A number of stars also have publicly expressed reservations about the prospect of crossing picket lines to attend awards shows, including the Golden Globes on January 13 and the film industry's highest honors, the Oscars on February 24.
NOT FOR THE OSCARS
Organizers of both those events have said their shows would go on somehow, with or without the Writers Guild's blessing. Continued...