CBS has set a multi-year deal with Dick Clark Prods. to telecast the Hollywood Film Awards, which bills itself as the “first stop of the awards season.”

Event is typically held in October and has become a draw even for major stars jockeying for early awards-season buzz. The CBS pact, which begins with this year’s event, marks the first TV deal in the 17-year history of the event, founded by Carlos de Abreu.

“Until now, the event was limited to only industry insiders,” said Jack Sussman, CBS’ exec VP of specials, music and live events. “We’re proud to team up with Dick Clark Productions and Carlos to develop this into an event for television and showcase it to millions of viewers across the country.”

Hollywood Film Awards are handed out in 25 categories including a career achievement laurel. All but the top movie category have no nominees but are selected by a group of advisors described as a “cross-section of Hollywood professionals.”

The winner in the top film category in recent years has been chosen by the public from 10 nominees through online voting via Yahoo.

There has been plenty of skepticism about the veracity of the awards selection process, especially as the October timing means that the kudos often go to movies that have not even screened for critics. But industry leaders have conferred legitimacy of a sort on the event by participating, though there are also questions about whether the TV spotlight will hinder the turnout.

A TV pact for the Hollywood Film Awards was expected after Dick Clark Prods. invested an unspecified amount in the event last year.

CBS has long sought to have its own movie awards franchise. The Eye tried to snare the Golden Globe Awards away from NBC a few years ago, before the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Prods. were ensnared in a legal battle over that kudocast. 

CBS and Dick Clark Prods. have been in biz on the Academy of Country Music Awards for the past 15 years.

Pictured: Sandra Bullock at the Hollywood Film Awards in October.