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Why Writers Strike Turned 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards Into a Clip Show

Now we know what the MTV Movie & TV Awards looks like without writers, and it’s not a pretty sight. We still got pre-taped sketches from former host Drew Barrymore, but there were no presenters, no performances, and no live appearances.

Instead, an off-screen announcer narrated montages of nominees, winners accepted their awards with videotaped speeches from home, and producers padded the rest of the show on Sunday with memorable highlights from past editions of the awards show — e.g. Mya, Lil’ Kim, Pink, and Christina Aguilera performing “Lady Marmalade” in 2001, Ellen DeGeneres going incognito in Spider-Man in 2004, Amy Winehouse swearing off “Rehab” in 2007, and Lizzo bringing the “Juice” in 2019.

Barrymore was set to host this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards, but she pulled out of the gig three days prior amid the Writers Guild of America strike. “I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them, I will pivot from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards live in solidarity with the strike,” she said in a statement. “Everything we celebrate and honor about movies and television is born out of their creation.”

A day later — after the WGA announced plans to picket outside the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, and after celebrities vowed not to cross the picket line — MTV announced that the Movie & TV Awards would not be held live.

At the time, executive producer Bruce Gillmer still promised “a memorable night full of exclusive sneak peaks, irreverent categories our audience has come to expect, and countless moments that will both surprise and delight as we honor the best of film and TV over the past year.”

Jennifer Coolidge, recipient of this year’s Comedic Genius Award, acknowledged the unusual circumstances in her pre-taped speech on Sunday, saying that writers are responsible for so many of the laughs on screen.

“I stand here tonight side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA,” she said.

This story originally appeared on TV Insider

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