MTV is currently working with numerous government and health agencies in hopes of mounting its annual Video Music Awards live from New York this August, Variety can report exclusively.
The show is eyeing an Aug. 30 broadcast date from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for its 36th edition of the VMAs, where MTV honors the best in the music video medium and features performances from top-charting artists. The plans come as New York City attempts to rebound from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, amid ongoing lockdowns and social-distance orders.
While a traditional physical production is a goal, according to one source familiar with the plans, the network is keeping safety top of mind and exploring virtual performances and an audience-free show, among other contingency plans.
MTV sent out save the date notices to top agents and talent reps this week, indicating the program would move forward in its traditional format. As the industry waits and watches for decisions from top awards franchises like the Academy Awards and the Emmys, MTV owner Viacom has been tinkering with its branded live events.
The 2020 VMAs will simulcast on the CW. The network joins 11 ViacomCBS brands that also will carry the show live alongside MTV at 8 PM. ET Sunday, August 30.
Held amid a global pandemic, the 2020 VMAs will pay homage to the resiliency of New York, which has rebounded after once being the COVID epicenter of the world. The show with feature several outdoor performances across the boroughs with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines.
The addition of the CW as a network carrying the VMAs makes the ceremony available to a broader broadcast audience. The CW would be a good fit as it draws a similar young audience to MTV. Additionally, it is within the larger ViacomCBS family as a co-venture between CBS and Warner Bros.
Looking for the MTV VMAs 2020 live stream? We have your back. The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will be held on Sunday, August 30, in New York City. But unlike past VMAs, this year’s ceremony — which will be the first televised awards show since the 2020 Oscars in February — will be virtual, for the most part.
An MTV spokesperson told Variety in May that the show has been communication with government and medical officials to ensure that the ceremony is safe for artists and fans. “We’re exploring with government officials, the medical community and key stakeholders on how to safely hold the 2020 VMAs at Barclays Center on August 30th,” the spokesperson said at the time. “The health of everyone involved is our number one priority. Additionally, we are working on several contingency plans to bring music’s biggest night to audiences everywhere.”
Though the event was planned to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with “limited or no audience” per New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s protocols, the show decided on August 7 that most of VMAs will be virtual for the safety of the artists and crew. Instead, the 37th annual VMAs will feature performances from various iconic locations across New York City’s five boroughs in honor of the city. Performers include BTS (who will perform their new single “Dynamite”), Miley Cyrus (who will perform her new single “Midnight Sky”), and Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga, who will perform their duet, “Rain on Me,” which is nominated for seven VMAs including Video of the Year.
Event Date: August 30, 2020
Location: Barclays Center in New York