Teen Choice Awards feels growing pains

Katy Perry, in-house DJ booked to lure older teens

If there's anyone who understands the reliability of the average squealing teenager, it's Bob Bain. The executive producer of the Teen Choice Awards, which airs Monday on Fox, says that when Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers were initially hot, "You could rely on screaming 13-year-olds" to tune into the broadcast. The same went for the heydays of 'N Sync and Britney Spears.

But this year is different. "There are troughs in the middle of those waves where you have to appeal to a larger portion of the teenage spectrum," he says.
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And so, in its 12th year, the Teen Choice Awards is growing up, with an event geared more to an older teen demographic. Host Katy Perry will preside over a set that resembles a dance club, and a house DJ will keep the evening moving.

Credit or blame any changes on last year's show, which dipped a tenth in the ratings to 3.9 million. "We want to pump up the numbers," Bain says. "We've done mild shifting around before, but never to this extent."

Ratings aside, Teen Choice numbers are fairly staggering: The awards clocked around 100 million votes last summer. Impressive numbers, though bear in mind that teens can vote once every 24 hours for their favorites and that there are 80 categories, most of which will never make it to air. This year, three more have been added to comprise a country music section.

Bain has been producing awards shows since the mid-1990s, many kid-related, and says he gets that it's the "water-cooler moments" that keep the show alive the day after it airs. Last year, Cyrus fired up the press when she did a little pole dance during her performance, and Bain would love to have another one of those spontaneous, if outrageous, occurrences.

But he knows not necessarily to expect one. Mostly, he sees the show as a party for the kids, and keeps the surf board awards in perspective. "It's a let-your-hair-down experience," he says. "It's informal, it's fun, and there's not a huge amount at stake. It's not like you're getting an Oscar."
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