P&G Sells 'People's Choice Awards' After 35 Years To E! Channel

Apr 6, 2017

After 35 years, Procter & Gamble has sold the "People's Choice Awards" to the E! Entertainment cable channel.

E!, which telecasts live from the red carpet before many Hollywood award shows, will air the show in 2018. NBCUniversal, which owns E!, will produce the show through its Wilshire Studios, which produces E!’s live red carpet shows.

P&G, which used all the national advertising spots in the show to promote its products, sold the TV awards show and its vast digital, social and voting platforms for $8 million to $10 million, according to the New York Times.

Tom Hanks with his award for 2017 Favorite Dramatic Actor.
Credit CBS Broadcasting Inc.

The People's Choice Awards program was created by Bob Stivers, who produced the first show in 1975  (when "The Sting" was favorite picture and  favorite film leads were John Wayne and Barbra Streisand).

Procter & Gamble bought the show from Stivers in 1982, when the Cincinnati-based consumer products giant had a very active TV production office in Los Angeles which made over 50 TV movies and miniseries, and a New York office overseeing production of P&G's weekday soap operas.

In 2010, P&G canceled its last soap, "As The World Turns," after 54 years. At the time, the company noted that its "Guiding Light" soap opera, canceled in 2009 after 72 years, holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running show in broadcast history.

"Big Bang Theory" cast members Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Simon Helberg, Mayim Bialik, and Johnny Galecki in the audience for the 2017 telecast.
Credit CBS Broadcasting Inc.

"People's Choice Awards" ratings peaked in 1977, for the third annual "People's Choice Awards," with 35.2 million viewers, when "Star Wars" was the favorite picture, according to Wikipedia.

The 2017 "People's Choice Awards" hosted by Joel McHale on Jan. 18, hit an all- time low with a 1.2 rating with adults 18-49, the networks' target advertising demographic, and 6.6 million viewers.  The 2016 January telecast drew a 1.3 rating.  Mark Burnett ("Survivor," "Celebrity Apprentice," "Shark Tank") produced the show for CBS.

Sarah Jessica Parker with her 2017 Favorite Premium Actress award.
Credit CBS Broadcasting Inc.

“The 'People’s Choice Awards' is a natural extension for E!, and we are excited to evolve and supercharge this fan-centered event for the next generation in a way that only E! can," said Adam Stotsky, E! president,  in the news release Thursday.

"Over two decades ago, E! created the red carpet experience and became the leading destination for fans on Hollywood's biggest nights.  With this acquisition, we are harnessing our entertainment authority, live event expertise and huge multi-platform reach to take fans beyond the red carpet and offer a true end to end consumer experience,” he said.

Nearly 300 million votes were cast before the CBS telecast this year. "The People's Choice Awards" is the only major awards show voted on entirely by the public for fan favorites in movies, music, television and digital.

In 2018, the "People’s Choice Awards" will air globally across E!’s 17 international channels reaching 153 countries in 24 languages, the network said.

Ratings for award shows have dropped in recent years due to the ever-increasing proliferation of video alternatives. The Oscars had its second-lowest viewership on ABC in February, and the Emmys had its smallest viewership last September for the second consecutive year, the New York Times reported. Ratings for National Football League games also dropped last fall, the Times noted.

Deadline noted that the Daytime Emmy Awards, after low ratings, moved to cable – and eventually to the web.