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MTV Video Music Awards starting early to end in time for President Obama's speech

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, September 06, 2012, at 09:47AM
Flickr/David Jones

The Staples Center will host the 2012 MTV VMAs.

Top 40 acts, pop culture icons, actors, rap stars and other glitterati will parade down a three-story red carpet in downtown L.A. tonight for the annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).

David Morong, production designer for the awards' pre-show, told MTV he thinks this is the "first-ever multi-level, stacked red carpet," and added that the 300-foot runway will connect the Nokia Theater (where the awards were held last year), to the Staples Center (the VMA's location this year).

Last year, the awards show drew a record-breaking 12.4-million viewers -- the largest audience in the 28-year history of the event. But the VMA's massive number of viewers is no match for the president of the United States.

Tonight the telecast will begin at 5 p.m. -- an hour earlier than usual -- in order to ensure that it ends by 7 p.m. and wont overlap with President Obama's DNC speech in Charlotte.

MTV’s Janice Gatti told Politico that her network live-streamed Gov. Romney’s acceptance speech and would do so again for President Obama’s speech following the awards. Politico added that because of this, the VMAs may actually help increase Obama's viewership.

Beginning at 2:30 p.m., stars will make their red carpet entrance at Staples in DTLA. In order to make way for the arrival of throngs of well-dressed attendees, the following street closures will take effect in the area: Chick Hearn Court between L.A. Live Way and Figueroa will be shut down as will Georgia Street from the West Road to Chick Hearn Court. L.A. Live Way will remain open, except for one lane which will be closed to facilitate limousine drop-off between 11th and 12th streets.

Carol Schatz, president and CEO of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID), said the VMAs, much like the Grammys and other large events held in the L.A. Live area, often have a positive impact on the area's economy.

"These events… always have some benefit to our Downtown area," she said.

People often hold pre- and post-parties at DTLA locations, stop to eat or drink at area restaurants and bars, or visit nightclubs after the event, said Schatz, bringing in revenue for the area. She added that because the VMAs are held in the "heart of the city," area residents are accustomed to the additional hustle-and-bustle. Schatz said many DTLA residents moved Downtown specifically for this lifestyle, and recognize "it's not Brentwood."

Staples Center is also at the "center" of L.A.'s transportation system, with close access to multiple major streets, freeways and public transportation systems, she added, making it easier for people to arrive and leave from events such as the VMAs. It has been proven that Staples Center and L.A. Live empty out faster than many other venues because of the myriad ways to arrive and leave.

This year's VMAs line-up includes an array of performers and presenters, from Rihanna to Green Day, actor/comedian Andy Samberg and rapper 2 Chainz. Previous years' VMA highlights include Lady Gaga's dress made of raw meat and Beyonce's very public announcement of her pregnancy with hip-hop mogul husband, Jay-Z.

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