Critics’ Choice Members Resign Over Entertainment Weekly Brand Deal

Seven journalists stepped down Tuesday after EW was named platform sponsor for annual show

Last Updated: November 1, 2016 @ 7:17 PM

Several members of the organizations behind the annual Critics’ Choice Awards resigned on Tuesday, in wake of a branding deal that will put Entertainment Weekly front-and-center at this year’s ceremony.

Writers from publications like BuzzFeed and several trade journalists from titles owned by Penske Media stepped down, citing the deal specifically as a reason.

“A handful of BTJA members did resign today, but the Critics’ Choice nominating committee will continue its work and the TV nominations will be announced on Nov. 14 as scheduled,” Joey Berlin, President of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, said in a statement obtained by TheWrap.

The BFCA, as well as the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, are responsible for choosing winners at the annual A&E Networks telecast.

“We hate to lose any members, but there are 400 members … and the show must go on,” Berlin added.

That’s not the only problem, according the group that withdrew their memberships. The EW deal would not only give one magazine superior visibility in a group represented by hundreds of competing outlets, it would hand them exclusive assets as well.

Take the nominees. The television categories will go live exclusively on EW.com and the site’s streaming network on Nov. 14. The movie categories will follow suit on Dec. 1.

“EW’s position as the preeminent voice in pop culture makes them the perfect promotional and content partner for A&E on the ‘Critics’ Choice Awards,” A+E Studios President Paul Buccieri said of the deal in an earlier statement. “Together, our brands can help drive fan engagement in one of Hollywood’s biggest events.”

This isn’t the first time the critics groups have raised eyebrows this season. In mid-August, the BFCA and BTJA jointly announced they were yanking up the ceremony date by more than a month, in a bid many saw to position themselves as a greater influencer of the Academy Awards.

The show had typically been held on the Saturday that precedes the annual Sunday Golden Globes telecast each year. It air live on Dec.11, from Santa Monica’s Barker Hanger, on A&E.