MTV Awards desert New York for Las Vegas

[3 May 2007]

By Richard Huff

New York Daily News (MCT)

The MTV Video Music Awards are ditching New York for Sin City.

After holding the event at Radio City Music Hall in 2006, MTV is moving it to Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort.

“We really wanted to do something that had never been done before,” said Palms owner George Maloof. “We wanted to create a place that was custom-made for the new Video Music Awards something completely different than they had in the past.”

Portions of the Sept. 9 show will be broadcast from various spots around the resort, including a performance from one of the high-end suites.

“I think a lot of what we’re going to bring, we haven’t done before,” says executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic.

“We’re going to have audiences dispersed throughout the hotel,” he says. “That’s going to be a little different from the typical awards show. The staging will lend itself to let the artists hang out with each other.”

This is Ignjatovic’s first time at the helm of the VMAs. He’s produced “Ultimate Mash-Ups, “Meet the Barkers” and “MTV Icon.”

In addition to the new venue, the 24th edition of the VMAs will have another twist - it will only air once in its original form.

In the past, the network has aired the show live, then immediately broadcast it again, repeating it a few more times in the following days and weeks.

Not this time around. Hoping to make the show a bigger event, the live telecast will be it. Parts of the VMAs, however, will be repackaged with input from viewers for replay later on.

MTV will build a weekend of programming around the Sunday-night show that includes specials, performances and other VMA-related fare.

In recent years, the awards show has suffered some audience erosion.

These are hardly the first changes the Video Music Awards have seen. The program started out in New York more than two decades ago, but has bounced between the city, Los Angeles and Miami. For a long time, it was held in September, but in 2002, the show was shifted to August to avoid the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

As for the feeling in Vegas: “Hosting the VMAs,” Maloof said, “is just something that’s beyond what I’d ever imagined.”

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