The MTV Movie & TV Awards will still air on Sunday, but the show will not air live as planned from Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Instead, it will be a pre-taped show filled with pre-taped acceptance speeches and comedy bits.
Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount Global, and an executive producer of the show, released a statement Friday (May 5), saying: “As we carefully navigate how best to deliver the fan-first awards show we envisioned that our team has worked so hard to create, we’re pivoting away from a live event that still enables us to produce a memorable night full of exclusive sneak peaks, irreverent categories our audience has come to expect, and countless moments that will both surprise and delight as we honor the best of film and TV over the past year.”
The show, now in its 31st year, had seemed to be headed for a big night when it booked Drew Barrymore as host and corralled Jennifer Coolidge to receive its Comedic Genius Award. But when members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike on Tuesday, after negotiations with studios and streamers had collapsed the previous night, the show was thrown into chaos.
The first setback came on Thursday, when Barrymore pulled out as host in solidarity with the striking writers, which include the writing staff of her hit daytime talk show. “I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them, I will pivot from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards live in solidarity with the strike,” Barrymore said in a statement.
While losing a big-name host just three days before a live show is a tough break, there were no hard feelings on MTV’s part. “Drew, without question, she’s been incredible,” Gillmer told Variety. “…She is not surprisingly, standing in solidarity with the writers, which we have full respect for. She has our full support.”
Also on Thursday, MTV called off the red carpet for the event, so celebrities would not have to face questions about the strike. But the plan at that time was still to have a live show. The WGA said on Friday that it was planning to picket the show, which made holding a live show increasingly problematic.
The MTV Movie Awards, the forerunner of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, were once pre-taped, so this is not unprecedented.
The MTV Movie & TV Awards will still air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on MTV, with simulcasts on BET, BET Her, Comedy Central, CMT, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land, VH1.
Executive producers for the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards, who are becoming battle-tested in the challenges of live television, are MTV’s Gillmer, Wendy Plaut and Vanessa Whitewolf, along with Den of Thieves’ Jesse Ignjatovic and Barb Bialkowski. Jackie Barba and Alicia Portugal are executives in charge of production and Lisa Lauricella serves as the music talent executive.
Is it possible for producers to put on a fun, entertaining show with so much working against them? You’ll just have to tune in Sunday night and find out.