People's Choice Awards hit by strike


Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 10:49 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 10:49 a.m.

LOS ANGELES - What happens to an awards show forced to scuttle its live ceremony because of the Hollywood writers strike? For the People's Choice Awards, it meant losing nearly half its TV audience.

The two-hour taped show that aired Tuesday on CBS was watched by 6 million viewers, compared with the 11.3 million that watched last year, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.

The weak ratings reflect the damage being exacted on the entertainment industry awards season by the two-month-old Writers Guild of America strike. The Golden Globes also canceled its ceremony Sunday on NBC, which instead plans to air a news conference to announce winners.

Representatives of the People's Choice Awards did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Wednesday.

The writers guild refused to grant waivers for its members to work on the awards shows, and the Screen Actors Guild said its members would honor picket lines and refuse to take part depriving the ceremonies of their all-important star power.

The People's Choice Awards replaced its traditional live show and with a taped format, hosted by Queen Latifah, that had its crews deliver trophies to music, film and television stars on location.

Winners included Johnny Depp of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy."

The guild also has refused to grant a waiver for the premier awards ceremony, February's Academy Awards. Its producer has vowed to stage the show as planned.

Talks between the guild and the alliance representing producers broke off in December and have yet to resume, with production on dozens of TV shows and some movies brought to a standstill.

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