Spirits, SAG could outshine star-struck awards shows
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NEW YORK -- The de-glitzing of the Golden Globes has been a blow to everyone from movie marketers to caterers.
But could it lift award shows that aren't hit by the strike?
The Film Independent Spirit Awards and the SAG Awards, both of which have been granted WGA waivers, could find themselves reaping the fruits of a Globes downsizing in media attention, TV ratings and advertising revenue.
Both are televised -- SAG on TNT and the Spirits on IFC. And with waivers in hand, both expect the full complement of celebrities that Sunday's Globes news conference -- and potentially the Academy Awards -- will lack. Whether the stars' presence at the nonstruck shows will draw TV audiences remains to be seen, but if Tuesday's People's Choice Awards are an indicator, it's clear that star-less shows will struggle. In what had to be an ominous development for NBC and the Golden Globes, CBS' pretaped People's Choice Awards hit an all-time ratings low, averaging a paltry 1.6 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 and 6 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen data. In adults 18-49, that was down 54% from last year's live ceremony broadcast, and the show shed viewers every half-hour.
The presence of celebrities at the SAG and Spirits shows could keep ratings and viewer interest high, as movie fans with few other places to turn tune in to the show.
The star-free Globes also are expected to drive such programs as "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" to beef up their presence at alternate shows. Those shows usually rely on red-carpet interviews form the Globes not just for event coverage but for year-round B-roll, and without the Globes, they will be forced to satisfy that need elsewhere.
With fallout from the Globes and questions about the waiver, a spokeswoman for the Spirit Awards said that IFC was declining to provide details of the show. The Spirits are held on the beach in Santa Monica the day before the Oscars, and the smaller ceremony may find itself dependent on the fate of the larger one; if the Oscars are canceled or delayed, the Spirits could find itself without some of the stars who come in expressly for the Oscars.
Organizers of the SAG Awards are expecting their usual attendance rate of 92%-95% of nominees, spokeswoman Rosalind Jarrett said. TNT also will include webcasts and other bells and whistles it implemented last year. The DGA and WGA awards ceremonies won't be affected by the strike either, but neither gets a TV airing.
Some observers caution that there could be a potential downside for shows with waivers, with the Globes devoid of their gala and the Oscars threatened.
The awards season tends to operate on a "buildup" principle, in which attention for each show feeds on those that came before. Without the January jump-starts, some are concerned about a more general neglect. "I just worry that the average person might forget about awards season entirely," said one film exec.
Observers said they were particularly concerned that many of the nominated films are not widely seen hits and may have needed an extra boost from the Globes so that viewers could familiarize themselves with them.
The Globes downsizing could, however, even give a boost to a show that already was telecast: VH1's Critics Choice Awards. Sources say VH1 had internally raised the possibility of re-airing the show -- which featured such stars as Angelina Jolie and George Clooney -- opposite or following the Golden Globes announcement. Most of the stars turned out for the Critics Choice Awards, which had the blessing of SAG. The network has for now decided to stick to its plans for two airings Saturday, though a spokesperson said the schedule could change.
Meanwhile, more details emerged Wednesday about the Globes news conference announcing the winners, with NBC saying that it will air a repeat of "American Gladiators" in the 10 p.m. slot following the event.
E! is trying to make sure that it gets what little it can even from a reduced Globes, saying that there would be live cut-ins with Ryan Seacrest outside the news conference when winners are an¬nounced and a 7 p.m. report the next day with "an overview of the Golden Globe results, in-depth analysis and winner reactions."
But the network also seemed to acknowledge the lower interest, scheduling "Snoop Dogg's Father Hood" during the news conference and "The Girl Next Door" following it at 10 p.m.
Instead, it touted in a statement that "E! looks forward to bringing viewers its unparalleled access inside Hollywood's biggest award shows in the future, including the upcoming SAG Awards on Sunday, Jan. 27."
Nellie Andreeva and Kimberly Nordyke in Los Angeles contributed to this report.