Sunday, June 01, 2014

The MMVAs Celebrate Their 25th Anniversary


Much, CTV -- June 15

Street Party

CTV Hops On Much's Bandwagon
As The MMVAs Celebrate
Their 25th Anniversary

By Eric Kohanik 

When it comes to star-studded street parties, there aren't many in Canada that are as rousing – or as rockin' – as the one MuchMusic has been throwing year after year in downtown Toronto.
In fact, the MuchMusic Video Awards have been partying on for an incredible quarter of a century.
Every June, multitudes of exuberant music fans flock to the corner of Queen and John Streets to get a close-up look as MuchMusic cranks up the energy – and unleashes big-time star power – at its annual celebration. This year's 25th-anniversary edition of the MMVAs hits MuchMusic on June 15. And, as usual, viewers will get primed beforehand with the MMVA Red Carpet Special.
For the first time, though, the cable channel's corporate cousin, CTV, is jumping on the bandwagon, simulcasting this year's entire extravaganza live from coast to coast on its broadcast network, as well as on its CTV GO mobile app.
“It's a really great opportunity to put the show on a bigger platform,” says Sheila Sullivan, the longtime executive producer of the MMVA telecast. “That's great for the artists. It's great for the Much brand.
“The great thing about it is the CTV simulcast will ensure [that] millions of music fans – who might not have ever had the opportunity to watch the MMVAs on Much – can now watch it on CTV. It opens the MMVAs up to an entirely new, broadened audience, which is just perfect. The more people that can tune in and see this street-party spectacle, the better.”
This year's anniversary show will have “a nod” to previous MMVAs, but it won't dwell on the past. “It won't be too nostalgic,” Sullivan promises. Instead, viewers can count on a show featuring some of the music world's biggest names as performers. There will also be a stellar lineup of presenters to do their usual thing, as well as adding a few surprises.
“I've done enough [MMVAs] to remember most of the exciting things that have happened during the show over the years,” says Sullivan. Past years have had their share of dazzling moments, ranging from Lady Gaga's bra-shooting fireworks to Flo Rida making his way onto the MMVA stage via zip-line.
Sullivan and her team are still busily assembling this year's final list of performers and presenters – a task that has been ongoing since last fall. “We start talking to labels and to talent in the fall so that we can get it on the calendars of artists that we're hoping will come to the show to perform,” Sullivan explains. “We want to be on their calendars first. We're looking for the biggest and the best names. We are looking to give our audience exactly what they want to hear.”
Apart from the talent lineup, Sullivan says there is one other big challenge to putting on the MMVAs every year – the show's outdoor setting.
“When you're indoors, you can rehearse all day long in the dark,” Sullivan points out. “We can rehearse only from 9:30 to 11:30 because, at 9:30, it's finally dark and we can see what it's going to look like on TV. But, at 11:30, we have a noise curfew. And the weather, of course, is a big concern.”
Although storms have dampened some MMVA celebrations, the show has had surprisingly good luck with the weather over the past 25 years. “We have – and it's going to happen again this year, for sure!” Sullivan insists, knocking on wood. “I wish it was something I actually did have more control over.”
Sullivan does have control of the show, though, and she remains confident that it will be bigger and better than ever.
“We do try and take our production value to another level each year, as well as trying to ensure that we're featuring artists who our audience is listening to and loving right at this moment,” Sullivan stresses. “And that's certainly what we'll be aiming to do again this year.”

The 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards – Much, CTV – June 15

(Published in Channel Guide Magazine -- June 2014.)