How the Writers Strike Will Affect the MTV Movie Awards

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The annual MTV Movie & TV Awards that were supposed air live this Sunday will now be pre-taped, in light of the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike and major drops in expected attendance to the awards ceremony.

Drew Barrymore—who had been promoting her role as the awards show’s host for more than a month—stepped down from the gig on Thursday in support of the strike. (She did, however, agree to host next year’s telecast instead.)

“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. “Everything we celebrate and honor about movies and television is born out of their creation. And until a solution is reached, I am choosing to wait but I’ll be watching from home and hope you will join me.”

How the WGA strike is changing this year’s MTV awards

The announcement to shift the awards show from live to pre-taped came Friday night as attendees began to voice their decision to boycott the awards to support the strike.

“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,” Bruce Gillmer, the award show’s executive producer, said in a statement.

Gillmer had confirmed with Variety just days before that there would still be a live performance, but that things were “very unpredictable—because clearly we don’t know which talent will feel comfortable. A lot of them won’t.”

Everything Everywhere All At Once actress Jaimie Lee Curtis was slated to present a gong at the awards, but revealed to fans on Friday, “I’m not gonna be able to go and present because the @wgawest needs and deserves my support and I won’t cross their picket line,” Curtis wrote in an Instagram post.

In a similar move, Vanderpump Rules star Lala Kent told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that she would not attend. “Although Vanderpump Rules falls under the unscripted sector of TV, that is not an excuse for me to remain silent and carry on as if there isn’t so much at stake for every writer and their families,” she said. “We have to protect our creators and I hope you’ll stand with me and many others as we do so until we reach a resolution (hopefully very soon).”

The MTV awards have been running since 1992, but pre-taping the awards show has become increasingly common in recent years. It was filmed beforehand and aired within the following two days in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

This year’s award show will also have no red carpet.

How past writers strikes have impacted past awards shows

The situation is far from new: The last time the WGA went on strike, between 2007 and 2008, many entertainment award telecasts were scaled down or canceled. In 2008, for instance, the Golden Globes were canceled and replaced with a press conference due to the writers’ strike. The move came after the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) pledged not to cross the picket line, extinguishing the star power from the show.

SAG—which attended an unprecedented solidarity rally for the WGA with Hollywood labor allies on Wednesday—faces a June 30 contract deadline, alongside the Directors Guild of America, with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. If they don’t reach a new contract agreement by then, actors and directors could join writers on strike.

The SAG has stood in solidarity with the WGA in the past. Because of this, during the 2007-2008 strike, the WGA granted the SAG a waiver, giving guild writers permission to create material for the SAG Awards. They did the same for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The WGA did not, however, issue such waivers for the Oscars, the Golden Globes, or the People’s Choice Awards—meaning that guild writers could not create content for these shows. The WGA also rejected a request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to use clips from movies and past Academy Award shows at the Oscars. (The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers ultimately reached an agreement a couple of weeks before the Oscars ceremony itself.)

Read More: How the Writers Strike Could Impact TV Shows That Are Still Filming

Will the WGA strike affect future awards shows?

In the coming months, the Academy of Country Music Awards are slated for May 11, the GLAAD Media Awards for May 13, the Television Academy Honors ceremony for May 31, the Critics Choice Real TV Awards for June 16, and the Daytime Emmys for June 16. It remains to be seen whether the WGA will grant waivers, stars will eschew the shows in solidarity—or whether the sentiment will reach across the pond to the BAFTA Television Awards on May 14 or Cannes Film Festival, starting May 16.

The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 12, and—after the 2007-2008 strike that lasted three months—the lingering question on the entertainment world’s mind is: Will the strike be resolved before television’s highest honor, the Emmys, in September?

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