The TV Column for Thursday, March 12
Two days after the Viacom-owned, kids-targeting Nickelodeon network said it had no plans to remove Chris Brown as a nominee for its annual Kids' Choice Awards -- even though the singer has been charged with two felonies for allegedly beating and making threats against singer Rihanna -- the cable channel said Brown's name had been stricken from the nominee list.
Also gone from the list of nominees: Brown's "favorite song" contender, "Kiss Kiss."
Nick did not remove Brown from the running for the March 28 live telecast. Brown did, the cable network says.
"We are confirming that Chris Brown has decided to withdraw his nominations from the Kids' Choice Awards," Nickelodeon said in a statement. The network, however, which programs for kids ages 2 to 14, committed itself to saying: "We agree with and respect his decision."
The removal of Brown's name comes more than a month after he allegedly beat the pop singer, who was his girlfriend. A petition urging Viacom to remove Brown from the list of nominees was posted online Saturday but really took off when CNN and celebrity suck-up shows began reporting it Monday. By Tuesday, "a few hundred" calls had been received, said a Viacom rep, and the petition had nearly 5,000 signatures; by last night there were more than about 12,000 signatures.
The Kids' Choice nominees were announced Feb. 6. The next night, the 19-year-old R&B star allegedly assaulted Rihanna, after the couple reportedly left a pre-Grammy party. Word of the alleged assault got out when both singers, scheduled to perform at the Grammys the next night, were no-shows. As the Grammys began, Brown was turning himself in to police, news reports said.
Two days ago, Nickelodeon told the Associated Press that Brown's nominations would stick because, "like all our KCA nominees, Chris Brown was nominated by kids several months ago based on his body of work as a performer, and the kids who vote will ultimately decide who wins in the category."
Let's look at the Kids' Choice Awards for a moment, shall we?
Kids do not actually do the nominating, in the same way members of, say, the TV academy do the nominating at the Emmys. Nickelodeon employs a pollster, which polls kids and comes up with a national sample, and Nickelodeon decides which performers, movies, video games, etc., become nominees based on the sample, according to Nick. Actual voting is then done at Nickelodeon's Web site. And when Nickelodeon says "the kids who vote will ultimately decide who wins in the category," by "kids," it means "anyone with access to a computer."
In a statement -- because even people charged with felonies who remove their names from marketing vehicles targeting children still issue statements in Hollywood -- Brown says he "very much appreciates the support of his fans and the honor they have paid him in the way of nominations for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song."
"Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding the incident last month has shifted the focus from the music to whether [Brown] should be allowed to be among those nominated."
That's right, Chris Brown is a victim. Done in by "controversy."