Created in 1975 by Bob Stivers, the People’s Choice Awards were acquired in 1982 by Procter & Gamble Co. This week, there was another passing of the populist awards show torch. For somewhere around $10 million, P&G has sold the franchise to NBCUniversal’s E! Entertainment Television.
In a circulated statement, NBCUniversal chairwoman Bonnie Hammer said she believes E! and its large group of associated international channels can push the CBS-TV program to “a whole new level.” Meanwhile, Cincinnati Business Courier staff reporter Barrett J. Brunsman spoke to a rep for the locally headquartered consumer goods giant:
“While we are proud of the heritage the PCAs bring, we are no longer focusing on producing entertainment as one of our core competencies,” P&G spokeswoman Victoria Schooler told me. “P&G is focusing on businesses where we can add unique value.”
“The PCAs provide fans the opportunity to have their voices heard, and we are delighted to have found the PCAs a home where it can continue to fulfill its mission,” she said.
For a pithier take, check out this post from Showbiz411 columnist Roger Friedman. He describes E! as a channel that is popular among pets and coma patients, and suggests that ‘someday maybe someone will write about the horse trading that brings People’s Choice winners to the forefront.’
New York native Stivers was something of a trailbazer on the celebrity TV front, having had a hand in the late 1960s in both NBC’s Showcase ’68, which introduced audiences to Linda Rondstadt, and The Movie Game, a 1969-70 celebrity contest that featured the likes of Burt Reynolds and John Wayne. In 1977, a few years after the launch of the People’s Choice Awards, he kicked off another annual franchise, Circus of the Stars, which ran also on CBS until 1994. Stivers passed away in 1988 at age 66.