While other award shows are announcing delays due to the continued spread of COVID-19, this summer staple is ready to get on with the show. MTV’s Video Music Awards will take place on Sunday, Aug. 30, according to an announcement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo revealed the news at his Monday, June 29 press conference, saying that the 2020 VMAs would take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center without an audience.
MTV later confirmed the news in a press release obtained by Bustle. "We’re elated to bring the 2020 ‘VMAs’ back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA," said Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events for ViacomCBS Media Networks.
The decision to go forward with the 2020 Video Music Awards is surprising, given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the fact that MTV reportedly decided to postpone their Movie & TV Awards indefinitely in early June. However, reporting from May suggests that MTV had been contemplating going forward with the VMAs for months. "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 30," an MTV spokesperson confirmed to Variety on May 28. The report also claimed that the network was considering a virtual show, similar to the BET Awards that took place on June 28.
As of the announcement date, the 2020 VMAs will be a kind of hybrid event, with both live onstage performances at Barclays and various other locations across New York City’s five boroughs — a way to "pay homage to the strength, spirit, and incredible resilience of NYC" — and virtual segments. According to the press release, the live event will either have "limited capacity or no audience," depending on the science and statistics as the date approaches. "Details and potential options to come at a later date based on the science and data in New York," reads the press release. "Barclays Center and ViacomCBS are unequivocally committed to ensuring that the show does not compromise the health and safety of anyone involved in the event."
Group performances, specifically singing, have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks across the country, as have large events. But with two months to go until the night of the show, MTV and Barclays will hopefully have the time to set precautions and protocols in place to avoid spreading the virus. If the 2020 VMAs are successful, then they might just set the stage for more award shows to take place as planned. The 2021 Oscars have to take place sometime.
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