Behind the scenes of the ''People's Choice'' awards -- ''Friends'' stars win big, but can't shake their last-season funk, while Raymond still doesn't know if it's his last season

By Liane Bonin
Updated January 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Jim Carrey: SPLASHNEWS PHOTO/Mario Anzuoni/NewsCom

At Sunday’s 30th annual People’s Choice Awards, there were kudos for hobbits (”Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”), swashbucklers (”Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”), and God (”Bruce Almighty,” ”Joan of Arcadia”). Here’s what went on behind the scenes of CBS’ awards show for the people, by the people.

Cohosts Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen, who won Favorite New Comedy for their CBS series, ”Two and a Half Men,” managed to work some edgy comedy into their between-awards patter, including a punchline about their own network’s debacle involving a Ronald Reagan biopic. ”We had even worse jokes they cut, so in the end we were left with the one Reagan joke,” said Cryer. Just don’t call him Ducky, as some fans of his ”Pretty in Pink” character found out when Cryer admonished them during the telecast: ”Just give it up? That was 1986.”

Accepting the award for ”Bruce Almighty”’s award for favorite comedy, Jim Carrey jokingly thanked his Jewish fans and converted the audience to Christ, but backstage admitted that, in his youth, he really worshipped at the altar of the rock band Kiss. ”Honestly, I think the People’s Choice is great because when I was in my early teens Kiss won the award for ‘Beth,’ and I thought that was so cool? I always wanted to win one because of that,” he explained. Now that he has a closet full of the awards, however, he’s looking to build ”a structure with them, maybe have a sunbeam strike it and let the light reflect off it.” And a shelf works well, too.

While ”Friends” took home awards for favorite female performer (the absent Jennifer Aniston) and best comedy series, stars Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc admitted to being in a funk even a light-refracting Lucite statuette couldn’t shake. ”It’s just been 10 of the greatest years of my life, so it’s really, really sad,” said LeBlanc. ”But all good things have to come to an end, which kind of sucks.” Perry added, ”Having to tape the show now is very interesting, knowing Wow, there’s two shows left or three shows left. We have these cast huddles before every show, and that’s when we get a little emotional about it. I can’t imagine what those huddles are going to be like in a couple of weeks.” Maybe they just need to take Carrey’s suggestion for how they should end the series: ”In litigation.”

Favorite male performer winner Ray Romano, who has hinted this may be the last season for ”Everybody Loves Raymond,” said that winning the People’s Choice award wouldn’t influence him either way. ”We will make a decision in a couple weeks,” he said, with his 11-year-old twin sons Matt and Greg by his side. ”But that’s not to say it’s final. Before the new year, I kind of had it in my head that this is probably the last year. Then New Year’s came and I started panicking a little. I want to end at the right time, so any decision I make, I’m gonna doubt.”

While several winners, such as ”Friends” and ”Everybody Loves Raymond” are preparing to head off for that great syndication heaven in the sky, a few others promised to be there for us. ”Survivor: Pearl Islands” creator Mark Burnett, whose show won the award for favorite reality-based program, said there’s only one thing that will bump him from prime time. ”The only reason ‘Cheers’ ended and ‘Friends’ is in its last season is the actors get tired of it,” he said. ”’Survivor’ will only end because the viewers get tired of it, because I never will.”

Still, he may have a hard time topping his next show: the all-star edition of ”Survivor.” While he wouldn’t say which ”Survivor” alums made the cut, he did reveal two who didn’t. ”Colleen Haskell wouldn’t come. She didn’t want to do that again and I respect that. And ‘The View’ wouldn’t have had a host if Elisabeth [Filarski] Hasselbeck came.” Even without them, Burnett says, ”’Survivor: All Stars’ will be my blockbuster.”

”C.S.I.” producer Anthony Zuicker, who took home a prize for Favorite Drama Series, revealed he may have even more forensic thrillers in the offing, including ”C.S.I: New York” and ”C.S.I.: New Orleans.” ”When CBS chooses to announce it, then it will be official. But we’ve narrowed it down to three cities,” he said. What, no ”CSI: Hoboken”?