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People's Choice Rolls Up Carpet

The other high-heel shoe has dropped.

With no end in sight for the Hollywood writers’ strike, the 34th annual People’s Choice Awards will slash its red carpet, it was confirmed Wednesday.

Organizers, meanwhile, announced a “reinvention” of the telecast as a pretaped, “magazine-style format” show: Think two-hour special, rather than Christine Lahti-caught-in-the-bathroom live TV.

People’s Choice spokeswoman Jeannie Tharrington said the show requested, and was denied, a waiver from the Writers Guild of America that would have allowed union writers to work on the Jan. 8 CBS telecast. Later, WGA spokesman Greg Mitchell said the union had taken no action on the request.

Earlier this week, the WGA denied union writers to the Jan. 13 Golden Globes. Additionally, it refused to sign off on film clips for use at February’s Oscars.

Strike or no, the People’s Choice show still has its air date, its network home and its host. Queen Latifah, herself a film nominee as Favorite Leading Lady, remains on board.

Other stars will appear on the special, as well. Tharrington said the show was getting a “great reaction” from winners, whose acceptance speeches will be taped. (People’s Choice winners, determined by an online vote, are always notified in advance.) The star segments will feature questions supplied by real people, also known in Hollywood as nonunion writers.

This year’s nominee field includes brand names such as Halle Berry, Matt Damon and Johnny Depp. Television and music contenders include Katherine Heigl, Patrick Dempsey and Beyoncé.

In addition to the red-carpet press, the biggest loser of the People’s Choice Awards will be Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium, which was to have hosted the live event that will no longer be live, and will no longer be in need of a live venue.

It’s unknown how the Globes plans to cope with the strike, although the forecast for the red carpet presently is not good.

So far, only the Screen Actors Guild Awards, set for Jan. 27, is set to emerge unscathed. The WGA, which has been tight with SAG, and vice versa, during the strike, gave that show the go-ahead to hire its scribes. The union’s blessing likely ensures a crowded red carpet. (SAG Awards nominations are to be announced Thursday.)

The most famous example of a Hollywood strike killing the glamour factor at an award show was the 1980 Emmys, held during the actors’ strike, when Powers Boothe was the night’s only acting winner to accept his award in person.

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