Critics’ Choice Awards Org Responds to Backlash Over Entertainment Weekly Partnership

The governing body of the Critics’ Choice Awards has responded to the backlash associated with their partnership with Entertainment Weekly on a multi-platform content and promotional deal for the upcoming awards ceremony.

“EW will have the same role as A&E in determining the Critics’ Choice Awards that we vote on — NONE,” reads the statement from Broadcast Film Critics Association/Broadcast Television Journalists Association’s Joey Berlin, John De Simio, Jim Ferguson, Mark Ramsey, and Sara Voorhees. “EW is a promotional partner, like others we have had before. This is not the ‘EW Awards’ and it never will be. They, like all promotional media partners, are helping to build awareness of and tune-in for our CCA.”

Following Tuesday’s announcement, a dozen BTJA members resigned in protest over the new partnership, citing concerns that the organization would no longer be representing numerous news publications and outlets. TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, Variety’s Debra Birnbaum, Media Village’s Ed Martin, and Buzzfeed’s Jarett Wieselman — who served on the BTJA’s executive committee — stepped down, along with Us Weekly’s John Griffiths, TVLine’s Matt Mitovich and Vlada Gelman, TV Guide’s Matt Roush and Jim Halterman, IndieWire’s Michael Schneider, YahooTV’s Kristen Baldwin and Ken Tucker, and Variety‘s Maureen Ryan.

“The primary goals for this Board have always been to help our members serve their audiences by spotlighting the finest in movies and television and to help the members in their careers by making it important to be a CCA voter,” the statement continues. “We are confident this deal will be of great help in achieving both goals.”

The BTJA now lists 70 members on its website.

The 22nd annual Critics’ Choice Awards show will air live on Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. PT on A&E Networks.

Here’s the full memo:

To the Membership:

By now you have probably seen the announcement that Entertainment Weekly and its sister publications have made a deal with our TV partner, A&E Networks, to help promote our Critics’ Choice Awards show. The BFCA Board of Directors has learned that some members are concerned about this new relationship. We were remiss in not making the following points clear to you before the announcement was made.

EW will have the same role as A&E in determining the Critics’ Choice Awards that we vote on – NONE.

EW is a promotional partner, like others we have had before. This is not the “EW Awards” and it never will be. They, like all promotional media partners, are helping to build awareness of and tune-in for our CCA. We are extremely proud of our spectacular awards show and have long believed that building audience awareness is the key to our long term success. That’s why we made this decision.

We have frequently had Special Awards during our CCA telecast – some sponsored, some fan voted. We strive to make our show entertaining for the viewing audience. We believe presenting EW’s Entertainer of the Year Award is consistent with sponsored awards in the past.

We have revealed our nominations exclusively on one media outlet several times before and there was never a complaint. All members will receive the nominations release a minute or so after, as usual.

Every BTJA and BFCA member is associated with a different media platform – that is what makes our organization unique. Leveraging member and partner media platforms is the best way to generate awareness and interest in the CCA, and the success of our awards show reflects directly on each of our members. We couldn’t be prouder of this, and we are determined to be faithful custodians of the high standards for which the CCA’s have always been famous.

We are aware that some members have decided to leave BTJA and BFCA over this issue. We are disappointed to lose members, but we firmly believe this is a wonderful opportunity to expand the scope and scale of the CCA’s, and we know the vast majority of members agree.

To sum up, the only change that will result from this deal is increased audience awareness, a larger viewing audience and more prominence for our awards show – all of that reflecting on you, our members.

The primary goals for this Board have always been to help our members serve their audiences by spotlighting the finest in movies and television and to help the members in their careers by making it important to be a CCA voter. We are confident this deal will be of great help in achieving both goals.

Thanks for your continued support. Onward and upward.

Joey Berlin
John De Simio
Jim Ferguson
Mark Ramsey
Sara Voorhees

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