January 12, 2007
Burnett to Produce MTV Movie Awards Live

One of the big news stories swirling around the net is based on the announcement that Mark Burnett will take over the role of executive producer for this year's MTV Movie Awards.

The awards will be going live this year, with the idea that Burnett will bring an increased level of interactivity to an awards show that prides itself on being unpredictable and cutting edge but who some have implied have been lackluster in that regard in recent years.

Along with the Flash Gordon Sci Fi series I mentioned earlier today, the new version of the Movie Awards was announced as part of the Television Critics Association press tour.

Burnett has already said that his plans are to make the awards show both more off-the-cuff and more interactive, such as with the solicitation of user-generated content. The backstory is apparently that Burnett approached them with his ideas, felling a debt of gratitude to MTV for helping launch his career through Eco Challenge.

In the AP Story on the awards show, Burnett said, "They've become so well-produced that it doesn't feel as MTV as in the early days." With the ratings cut in half from 2003 to 2006 for the show, the hopes are that Burnett's reputation and ideas will propel the MTV Movie Awards back into a must-watch program.

According to the AP story, "MTV President Christina Norman lauded Burnett's ability to 'connect with viewers' and called him an innovator who will bring new energy to the show."

Over at the Popwatch blog, they write, "Now, I love Mark Burnett as much as the next reality TV whore, but I can't help feeling that 1) he's overestimating how candid celebrities are willing to be at an awards show that doesn't get them liquored up like the Golden Globes and 2) though he's a master at screwing with people, the editing of his shows plays no small part in their success."

MollyGood, on the other hand, believes MTV must have "balls the size of cantaloupes" to put celebrities like Paris Hilton and Andy Dick live on national television in an environment like this. "We'll see how "thrilled" everyone is once the Jackass dudes show up with snakes, working on a whiskey binge and three hours of sleep. That's when "thrilled" becomes "seething regret." Let's PARTY!"

Is this a victory for interactive television and fan involvement or a dangerous experiment doomed to fail? Guess it all depends on how "real" the celebrities decide to be and how much the FCC members are fans of Burnett. Wonder if they will have it on enough of a tape delay to cut out if things get a little too candid?

MTV Networks is a member of the Convergence Culture Consortium but was not consulted in any way on the writing of this piece.