New venue, name for Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Fifteen years after its start, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. is giving its big show a complete makeover.

Org, which is sending out ballots to its 240 members today, is doing everything from changing the name of its awards to adding eight categories (mostly tech) to get more in line with Oscar.

And that’s not all. Org has decided to move its show across town as well. Kudocast had been held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for the past four years and will now take place at the Hollywood Palladium.

When the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards — formerly the Critics’ Choice Awards — air on Jan. 15, film professionals who work below the line will be given their due by critics. Although winners may not get a chance to go up on the podium for their moment of glory due to the telecast’s two-hour window, categories such as art direction and cinematography were added to give the awards more of an Oscar-like feel.

Show is in the third and final year of its contract with cabler VH1. Both VH1 and sister net MTV will simulcast red carpet coverage before VH1 goes it alone for the kudocast at 6 p.m., live for the East Coast, delayed until 9 for the West Coast. Previously, the awards were broadcast on the WB for two years and E!.

BFCA president Joey Berlin said the name change was to make sure the public was aware that this was a night dedicated solely to film.

“It dawned on us that for a show that’s broadcast on VH1 and called the Critics’ Choice Awards, we had to let them know it was a movie awards show,” he said. “It was a slap-on-your-forehead moment.”

VH1 president Tom Calderone said the cabler, which caters to an 18- to 49-year-old pop culture demo, originally got involved in the kudocast in 2008 to establish its place in the movie awards season and realized it was better to attach itself to a existing show rather than creating a new one.

“We felt it would’ve taken a longer time to get to that place (in starting up a new show), and we wanted to have the respectability in the Hollywood community now,” Calderone said.

Ratings aren’t huge — 649,000 viewers tuned in last year — but, according to the VH1 topper, the show has been a hit with advertisers.

Berlin, who also acts as the exec producer, said the kudocast is audience friendly as it is widely attended by high-profile nominees. Event is held just two days before the Golden Globes and actors are already in town.

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