Taking a page from the Grammys, the three-hour ceremony will feature “never-before-done duets and collaborations” as well as live performances, celebrity guest appearances and live award presentations. There will also be performances from other Los Angeles venues, with audio from the broadcast streamed live across Clear Channel radio stations and their websites, and on iHeartRadio. This is the latest brand extension for the iHeartRadio radio network, following the iHeartRadio Music Festival, hosted by Seacrest, which was launched in 2011 and has been televised on VH1 and the CW to modest results, most recently logging 1 million viewers and a 0.4 in adults 18-49 on the CW last year, down 33% from 2012.
With its scheduling, the iHeartRadio Music Awards is getting in front of the rising Billboard Music Awards, slated for May 18 on ABC, which posted a decade-high ratings last year. While the Billboard Music Awards finalists are determined by chart performance according to Nielsen data for sales, number of downloads and total airplay, for the the new awards show, an all new iHeartRadio Chart will be invented, supplied and compiled by Mediabase. The charts will include listener feedback and performance data, according to airplay; digital streaming data from the iHeartRadio platform, including “thumbs up” and sales, social, video data and tags from BigChampagne and Shazam. Fans will be in charge of determining the finalists and winners.
The show will feature 13 different award categories across all genres of music. Each category will initially feature 10 nominees — listeners will then narrow down to five finalists during a four-week period, with the finalists to be announced during a one-hour live event on March 26, 2014 at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. Fans will then vote over the next several weeks to determine the winners in each category, with Clear Channel promoting the nominees.
NBC has been aggressively expanding its awards show footprint anchored by the Golden Globes. It recently announced it would revive the American Comedy Awards, also for a May 2014 debut. NBC has been looking to enter the music awards space and several years ago actively pursued the Country Music Association Awards, which entertained multiple offers before re-signing with ABC.
The iHeartRadio Music Awards will be executive produced by John Sykes and Tom Poleman of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Ian Stewart and Hamish Hamilton of Done and Dusted Inc., who will produce the show for NBC Studios. Hamilton will also direct.