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"We’re excited to
be the first awards show to call 'the fabulous Forum'
its home."

THE HITS Q&A

Interview: Bud Scoppa


With the MTV Video Music Awards set for Sunday night (8/24), we once again imposed upon EVP Music & Talent Strategy Amy Doyle, the co-executive producer of the show, for her thoughts, and against all reason she once again complied.

You’re not only heading back to L.A. this year, you’re doing the VMAs in a brand new venue, the Forum. What factors led to the decision to mount the show on the left coast?
With the VMAs, we’re arguably setting the tone for what’s next in pop culture. By design, each year we reinvent the show so that it feels uniquely fresh. This includes the venue, set design, red carpet layout and new categories. It’s exhausting, but it’s one of the key contributors to what makes the VMAs the best awards show around.

After last year’s amazing show at Barclays in Brooklyn, we knew we wanted to switch things up and head up to the West Coast. The Forum is iconic, and after its complete restoration, it has become a world-class music venue. Its unique circular shape inspired the set and theme, and the room really allows for close proximity of artist and fan. We’re excited to be the first awards show to call "the fabulous Forum" its home. It’s incredible how Jim and Irving have given it new life.

Will the production reflect the cultural context in the same way last year’s VMAs reflected the Brooklyn setting?
The production will be rooted in celebrating the present and future, and there will be nods to SoCal’s rich music history.

Can you give us any hints about what you’ve got up your sleeve this year?
It’s an eclectic show. We’ve got icons like Beyoncé and Usher returning and ready to kill it. Maroon 5 will be performing for the first time, as well as a lot of our MTV Artist to Watch alumni like Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and 5 Seconds of Summer, who will each bring a lot of fresh energy. There will be some not-to-miss collaborations and maybe even a few live animals. Every artist’s imagination is working overtime, there are a lot of ambitious ideas that will create quite the spectacle.

Are you once again going without a host?
We’re not looking for someone to host in the traditional sense.

The 2013 VMAs generated yet another memorable pop-cultural moment with the mainstreaming of twerking and foam fingers, thanks to Miley Cyrus. Did you realize up front what a big deal that performance would be, and do you feel challenged to top (or bottom) it in 2014?
I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where my bosses don’t ask me how we plan to top last year’s show. But in all honesty, they ask that every year. That’s one of the reasons the show continues to be so culturally relevant—it pushes the boundaries of live music. Every artist is looking to leave their mark and carve out a bit of VMA history.

And yes, when we did the first creative call with Diane Martel, who shared Miley and Robin’s vision for the performance, we knew it was going to be over the top and would get people talking. However, I don’t think any of us thought people would still be talking about it a year later.

With four females among the five Video of the Year noms in Iggy, Beyoncé, Miley and Sia, plus fellow multiple nominees Katy, Ariana, Lorde and Hayley, this is looking like the Year of the Diva. How do you plan to level the playing field for Pharrell, Sam Smith, Eminem and the rest of the outnumbered male contingent?
Why level the playing field? Embrace the girl power!
HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/7a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
WINNING NOMINATIONS
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/7a)
ON THE COVER: LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT
It's De-Lovely. (12/7a)
ELVIS COSTELLO'S SONGS IN THE KEY
OF IF
He's got a new record to talk about. (12/8a)
RAINMAKERS: COMING GRAMMY WEEK
The hitmakers speak. (12/8a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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