People's Choice Awards to Be Taped

The People's Choice Awards had the red carpet yanked out from under it Wednesday as fallout from the Hollywood writers strike grew.

The ceremony, which typically airs live, will be taped for a Jan. 8 telecast on CBS, a spokeswoman for the show said. Queen Latifah, who previously was announced as host, will be part of the new format.

The Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike for seven weeks, already had flexed its muscle by refusing to participate in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, the ceremonies that represent Hollywood's biggest promotional showcases.

"We realize there are pressing issues facing the entertainment industry, including the WGA strike, and out of respect for everyone involved this provided an opportunity to pilot a new format this year," awards spokeswoman Jeannie Tharrington told The Associated Press.

The show will include pre-recorded acceptance speeches by winners as well as their responses to questions sent in by fans, according to a People's Choice statement.

The "new approach will give fans a more personal glimpse into the lives of their favorite actors and musicians," awards President Fred Nelson said in a statement.

The People's Choice ceremony gives the public the chance to choose its favorite music, television and film entertainment. The show is produced by Sycamore Production, a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Productions.

"The show will go on," CBS, the ceremony's longtime home, said in a brief statement. "The People's Choice tradition on CBS will continue and we plan to introduce some new ideas in the process."

This year's ceremony drew 11.3 million viewers.

With the Screen Actors Guild preparing for its own negotiations with producers next year and stars showing firm support for striking writers, the question has been whether presenters — or even nominees — would show up for an awards show boycotted by writers.

The guild's action is an attempt to bring the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers back to the table and reach a favorable deal on issues that include compensation for digital media, labor experts said.

Meanwhile Wednesday, chief union negotiator John Bowman said the guild is pursuing agreements with several small independent producers that would allow at least some members to return to work.

Bowman said he hopes to have deals in place in time to make an announcement next week. He wouldn't identify the production companies but said the agreements would address writers' demands for compensation for work appearing on the Internet, a central issue.

He spoke with reporters after attending a hearing of the Los Angeles City Council's housing, community and economic development committee, which urged both sides to return to the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, economists told the committee that although the strike is costly to the local economy, it is not crippling.

"This strike will not kill the L.A. economy, but it will act as a break," said Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist for the University of California at Los Angeles' quarterly Anderson Forecast, predicted that if the strike lasts as long as 1988's writers walkout of 153 days, the overall net loss to the economy would wind up at about $380 million, only about 0.1 percent of the overall Los Angeles economy.