Video-rental giant Blockbuster Inc. has canceled its annual awards show because it was uncertain how many viewers would watch in the post-Sept. 11 climate. The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, which

Video-rental giant Blockbuster Inc. has canceled its annual awards show because it was uncertain how many viewers would watch in the post-Sept. 11 climate. The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, which honor film and music stars, had been scheduled for next spring in Los Angeles.

The Dallas-based company would have had to make significant financial commitments soon to book the auditorium and gear up for in-store voting on the awards by millions of customers, spokesperson Liz Greene said. Blockbuster did not disclose how much it had planned to spend on the show.

"Due to the uncertainty of the times, we were unable to predict consumer response to an awards show -- what people's viewing habits are going to be," Greene said.

Greene said Blockbuster's decision to cancel was based partly on the experience of television's Emmy Awards, which were postponed twice after Sept. 11 before taking place this month in Los Angeles. "We wouldn't want to have to cancel the show, and the [coordination] of celebrities in attendance is also an issue," Greene said.

Television officials had worried that terrorists could target the star-studded Emmys. The show's TV ratings fell 22 percent from last year, as more people watched the final game of the World Series.

This year's Blockbuster awards, taped and broadcast during prime time in April by Fox, featured such stars as Warren Beatty and Drew Barrymore. The video-rental company has produced an awards show, with such unusual categories as best villain, favorite action team, and favorite video game, the past seven years.

About 4.5 million households tuned in to the awards show the past couple of years, down from about 6.5 million in 1999.

Greene said no decision has been made whether to bring the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards back in 2003.


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