What Everyone Is Talking About Today

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NEW YORK ( -- It seems like an alternate awards-show universe, one in which acting awards get handed out to Sandra Bullock over Nicole Kidman, and Ray Romano beats out Keifer Sutherland. It’s also a universe where Jessica Simpson’s “These Boots Were Made For Walking” from the movie “The Dukes of Hazzard” is the opening number everyone can’t wait to see.
Photo: AP
Sandra Bullock, who beat out Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie, told the audience she thought they picked the wrong winner, but she's happy to take home the prize.

But it’s just the People Choice Awards, where popularity is the only thing that counts. Why, you ask, should you pay attention to such things? Well, because the winners are a pretty good indication of what America wants to see more of. The crystal-like statues are only given out to those movies, TV shows, actors, actresses and musicians who have fans who cared enough to log on to a Web site and vote for them.

In awards-show pecking order, the People’s Choice Awards are viewed as a low-rent version of the Emmys and Oscars, with big-name stars often opting not to make an appearance. (Brad Pitt? He was a no-show, despite being named Favorite Leading Man.) And many of the winners last night -- such as Sandra Bullock and director George Lucas, whose “Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith” won two of the favorite movie awards -- were quick to tell the audience that they don’t pay attention to the critics, they do their work for the audience. And a People’s Choice Award means they succeeded on that front.

So if your job is to figure out which star could be a breakout spokesperson for your product, or what kind of TV shows and movies are likely to draw a loyal audience, the People’s Choice Awards are a good place to start. For instance, Jennifer Garner was named Favorite Female TV Star, but ABC has cancelled “Alias” -- which means if anyone has a development idea for Ms. Garner, Watercooler suggests messengering it over to her today. Ditto for the pairing of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, since the duo won awards for Favorite On Screen Match Up, while “Wedding Crashers” won Favorite Movie Comedy, beating out “Hitch” and “The Longest Yard.” Other favorites? Reese Witherspoon, Johnny Depp, Matthew McConaughey, Jay Leno, Adam Sandler and Ellen DeGeneres.

NBC, which already has moved “My Name Is Earl” to Thursdays, can take comfort in the fact that it won for Favorite New TV Comedy, beating out UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris” and CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother.”

Fox should make sure it finds a place on its schedule for “Prison Break,” which won Favorite New TV Drama, beating out ABC’s “Commander in Chief” and CBS’s “Criminal Minds.” On the reality front, Fox got a double endorsement for “American Idol.” The show won as Favorite Reality Series, and its most famous alumnae, Kelly Clarkson, scored Favorite Female Performer.

Of course, Procter & Gamble is already ahead of the game. The Crest Whitestrips Fans Favorite Smile? That belongs to Cameron Diaz. Nice N Easy Fans Favorite Hair? Faith Hill’s. The Olay Total Effects Fans Favorite Look? Jennifer Aniston.

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