CBS wants the Hollywood Film Awards to be the next big thing

09.04.14 3 years ago 7 Comments

Anyone who had read my work over the years known if there is any event I have almost complete disdain for, it's the Hollywood Film Awards. You remember that one, right? It's the “awards show” that gives out honors to stars and filmmakers who are usually appearing in films that have not been released and often not even screened for critics or guild members yet. And yet, because it's usually situated at the end of October, movie studios have used it as a one-night publicity vehicle right before awards season really gets into high gear.

At worst, the red carpet photos will circulate on major sites and newspapers or maybe the trades will actually write a quick story about it (as trades do). That has led to significant star power accepting these awards and CBS has taken notice. Earlier this year it was announced that the Tiffany Network was planning to air the show, the event's first television broadcast. Thursday, more details were revealed about the new partnership and, honestly, we're wondering if CBS knows what they're getting into.

This year's Hollywood Film Awards will move from a traditional Monday night soiree in late October to Friday, Nov. 14 (November sweeps!) and air 8pm-10om, live ET, delayed PT. The latter doesn't matter much since everyone will pretty much know the winners weeks beforehand. CBS says the event's festivities will kick off with a red carpet show at 7:30pm, which seems a bit much, but isn't that big of a surprise.

Here's the kicker: the two-hour event will be followed by an hour-long post show hosted by “CBS This Morning's” Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell. The official release describes this post-game hour as “star-studded,” so we're guessing the plan is for a number of the recipients to sit down and get interviewed by the CBS “Morning” crew. Before the logic of all of this settles in your brain, we have to ask: Has anyone explained to the esteemed Charlie Rose yet how the Hollywood Film Awards make the People's Choice Awards and the Golden Globes seem magically legit?

The brainchild of Carlos de Abreu, Hollywood Film Awards has always been about trying to be relevant in the Oscar race. Most recently, the show was associated with the Hollywood Film Festival to give itself more legitimacy like the Palm Springs or Santa Barbara Festivals. It didn't really work and now the two events are disassociated from each other. What Mr. Rose, Ms. King and Ms. O'Donnell might want to research — before their reputations become sullied — is that these “awards” are supposedly picked by an “Advisory and Selection team of film industry insiders and executives.” Before this year that would be code for “each studio tells us who they can bring and who they would prefer wins each award and we try and balance it all out so everyone is happy.” It's pretty much been the “who can we get to show up who is a legitimate contender?” honors.

This isn't an esteemed group of filmmakers, cinephiles and critics like the committee that select the USC Scripter Award. Not at all. But perhaps with CBS and Dick Clark Productions' involvement, that will all change. There is nothing in the official release to seriously suggest that, but it's hard to believe CBS Chairman Nina Tassler would allow her self to be associated with something that has been pretty much a joke to the industry media for its entire existence.

In Thursday's release, Tassler was quoted as saying, “We're excited to schedule an expanded Friday night lineup to celebrate the kick-off of the annual awards season with the first live broadcast of the Hollywood Film Awards. For almost two decades, the evening has been limited to industry insiders. Teaming with Dick Clark Productions and 'CBS This Morning,' we look forward to giving viewers across the country a front row seat to the entire night, from red carpet arrivals to honorees' backstage reactions.”

What's somewhat disheartening about all of this is that CBS has two of the classiest and most respected awards shows on their slate: the Tony Awards and the Grammys. Sure, they have the People's Choice Awards, but at least that's determined by actual fan voting. The Hollywood Film Awards? Honestly, until de Abreu and Dick Clark Productions prove it has a sliver of integrity to it, the broadcast of the show is just going to have everyone who covers the season shaking their heads in disbelief.

That being said, there is one remarkable person to be congratulated on this new endeavor and that's de Abreu. The man has created something (?) out of nothing, which will now get major primetime coverage on arguably the most watched television network. You don't make that happen without fighting like crazy year in and year out to make someone believe. And that raises the question: Do you believe in the Hollywood Film Awards?

Think about it for a bit.

The 2014 Hollywood Film Awards will air on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8pm ET on CBS.  

(And, yes, we'll probably have to cover it somehow, but we won't be happy about it.)

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