MTV Looks to Boost Movie & TV Awards With June Move, Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish
MTV Movie & TV Awards

The MTV Movie & TV Awards hopes to snare some star power from the Emmys.

Long one of the biggest programming events on the Viacom-owned cabler’s calendar, the Movie & TV Awards shifts this year to mid-June from the early-May perch occupied a year ago. The shift is designed in large part to move the show in the Primetime Emmy Awards nominations window — a time when top TV talent can become magically available.

“After every tentpole, we do a deep-dive postmortem,” said MTV general manager Amy Doyle. “We look at the research, we look at scheduling, marketing, communications, talent availability, you name it, and just try and do as much and get as much analysis around the Movie & TV Awards or VMAs as possible.”

That process includes discussion of scheduling strategy. “We came up with the pre-nomination Emmy window,” said Doyle, also exec producer of the Movie & TV Awards, which airs on MTV and VH1 Monday. “We’re sort of assuming that celebrities will want to be seen during that time. They’ll want to be high-profile and top of mind as well as the TV production companies and movie studios.”

The move followed a couple of seismic shifts for the show a year earlier. The MTV Movie Awards had been a marquee event for the cabler since being first telecast in 1992. But last year, in an effort to better capitalize on the growth in television programming in the Peak TV era (and course-correct as pressure continues to mount for the theatrical film business), TV categories were added to the show.

At the same time, actor categories were ungendered, making the newly rechristened MTV Movie & TV Awards one of the first high-profile awards shows to place male and female actors into the same categories.

“The reception was amazing,” Doyle said. “We got such support and accolades from talent who felt it’s all about the acting and not whether or not you’re male female or other. They really respected our decision to do that.”

The addition of television categories made the Emmy-window shift possible. Another scheduling adjustment was the move from Sunday to Monday, a night when MTV and VH1 both enjoy higher-than-normal audience circulation.

But scheduling aside, the biggest draw may be this year’s host, Tiffany Haddish. An MTV-VH1 veteran from shows such as “I Love the ’90s”and “Hip Hop Squares,” Haddish has been enjoying a breakout period since the premiere last year of feature comedy “Girls Trip.” MTV execs zeroed in on her for the role after the movie was released.

“We said to each other, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we just found our host,'” Doyle said. “We actually made her an offer earlier than we have most hosts before because we were just so sure and she is so relevant in pop culture, we did not feel that there was anyone better this year. She was on our shortlist. But after ‘Girls Trip,’ she went to the top of that shortlist.”