Unscripted AMAs

Article excerpt

Byline: Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Unscripted AMAs

Without the quips between celebrity presenters, inside jokes about the entertainment industry and skits that poke fun at stars behaving badly, awards shows would be little more than shiny trophies and long lists of names.

That could be the case for some of the shows in Hollywood's fabled awards season this year if the Writers Guild of America remains on strike for several months, Associated Press notes.

Things get under way Sunday with the 35th annual American Music Awards, which will air live at 8 p.m. on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel hosts; Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Brown, Avril Lavigne, Queen Latifah, Rascal Flatts, Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls), Maroon 5, Daughtry, Fergie, and Rihanna are among those scheduled to perform.

The script was written before the strike began last week, but without writers to make revisions, it won't include any topical quips from Mr. Kimmel.

"We were aware of the impending WGA strike and planned accordingly," producer Larry Klein says.

Show planners also were lucky to be the first out of the gate.

December is nominations month - and therefore writing time - for the Grammy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, with the Oscars nominations coming Jan. 22.

People behind awards shows say it's too soon to say how the strike will affect their programs, but they're likely to feel the pinch when nominations are announced. Writing typically begins once the nominees are known, says Ken Ehrlich, who has produced more than a dozen Grammy and Emmy shows.

"With the Grammys, it comes down to who's performing on the show. Same thing with the Emmys; it depends on who you're going to book to present," he says. "It can't really be canned because it's got to be tailored to the people who are saying it."

During the writers strike of 1988, the Oscars show still went on - but that situation was different from today's. Back then, the show's script had been written before the strike began and remained essentially unchanged throughout the telecast. …