After 25 years, the MTV Movie Awards is getting a major makeover this year, expanding to include TV series for the first time, and is returning to a live format after going pre-taped last night. But, in another major change, the first MTV Movie & TV Awards were slotted for May 7 after predecessor the MTV Movie Awards aired in mid-April for the past few years and in June before that. That new air date makes the awards show the first big live TV event to be threatened by a potential WGA strike, right behind the late-night shows, which would go dark right away.
I hear the producers of MTV Movie & TV Awards are following closely the situation and the danger of a writers walkout as soon as May 2 — which became real this afternoon after the union’s membership overwhelmingly voted for strike authorization — and its impact on the show. Less than two weeks until the ceremony at the Shine Auditorium in Los Angeles, a large portion of the script has been written but, as is the case with any live telecast, a lot of writing is done in the final days leading to it. While this is difficult to accomplish with WGA on strike whether or not the MTV Movie & TV Awards is a union show, even more importantly, a possible writers strike would likely prevent the nominees — film and TV actors who are overwhelmingly members of SAG-AFTRA — from attending.
The Golden Globes found itself in a similar situation with the January 2013 ceremony, which fell two months into the 100-day WGA strike. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association tried unsuccessfully to reach an interim agreement with the WGA to allow its members to write for the show. When that fell through, striking writers threatened to picket the event, leading to the invited celebrities, including nominees, boycotting the awards so they don’t have to cross a picket line. That led to the cancelation of the glitzy ceremony, with the HFPA announcing the winners in a stripped-down news conference.