MTV is looking to reinvent its movie awards show, by de-emphasizing the movies.
This year’s show has been renamed the “2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards,” and will include categories devoted to the small screen for the first time. MTV also plans to return the event to a live telecast (last year’s ceremony was taped and aired the next day) and push it back a month, to Sunday, May 7.
Also new this year: MTV will throw a day-long fan-centric “Movie & Television Festival” in the parking lot next to the Shrine Auditorium (where this year’s show will be held) leading up to the telecast.
MTV has been experimenting with different ways to bolster the awards show, which has seen erosion in recent years. In 2016, the “MTV Movie Awards” was simulcast on nine Viacom networks, which combined to attract 3.5 million viewers. That was up from 2.3 million in 2015, when the awards show was seen on four networks.
Given the migration of top film talent to TV, and the blurring of lines between platforms — especially among younger audiences — it makes sense that MTV would embrace adding television to its movie awards show. It also gives MTV an opportunity to capitalize on buzzy TV stars from the likes of “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things.”
And strategically, the “MTV Movie & TV Awards” takes place just as Emmy campaign season gets underway, which means big-name stars on the TV side will be just as eager to show up as the film stars looking to promote their summer blockbusters. Eligibility for movies and TV shows will be anything released between Feb. 13, 2016, and March 17, 2017.
“We’re living in a golden age of content, and great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether you’re watching it in a theater or on TV,” said Chris McCarthy, President of MTV. “The new ‘MTV Movie & TV Awards’ will celebrate even more of the brightest, bravest, funniest and most shared films and TV shows resonating across youth culture.”
MTV’s decision to balance TV with film comes as more film festivals, such as Sundance and Tribeca, add television offerings to the mix. Some awards shows, including the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, have always included both.
The MTV Movie Awards were first launched 25 years ago, in June 1992. It soon became known as the awards show that capitalized on the summer blockbuster season, attracting top talent from those movies and often premiering exclusive clips and trailers from highly anticipated big-budget movies. As the summer blockbuster season started to creep into spring, MTV moved the show to April in 2013. One source said the show has now been pushed to May in order to move a bit away from the noise of the traditional Oscar season.
MTV hasn’t yet explained how the new expanded awards show will work: Will there be new categories for TV, or will they mirror the film categories? Will the show retire its signature golden popcorn statue and hand winners a different trophy? The network also wasn’t ready to name a host, performers, presenters or nominations, but that news is forthcoming.
As for the “Movie & Television Festival,” the inaugural event will feature “live musical acts, special guests and food… The afternoon will culminate with attendees being treated to a front row spot for viewing celebrity red carpet arrivals for the evening’s main event. Ticketing details and a full list of performers will be announced at a later date.”
Casey Patterson (“Lip Sync Battle”) is back for a second year as executive producer; MTV’s Garrett English will also executive produce.