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A&E Signs Xfinity, Dasani as Critics’ Choice Sponsors

A&E has signed up Comcast’s Xfinity cable TV service and Dasani sparkling water as key sponsors of its first telecast of the Critics’ Choice Television Awards.

A&E will air the awards show Sunday, preceded by a one-hour red carpet special. The awards were broadcast on the CW last year.

A premiere sponsor, Xfinity is being integrated into both the Red Carpet special and during the live broadcasting.

For example, Xfinity is cohosting a Red Carpet GIF booth that will push co-branded images out to social media platforms under the #criticschoice hashtag.

The A&E telecast will feature an award commemorating the new way fans watch popular shows. The Most Binge-worth Award is being chosen by fans voting via Twitter during the show. Empire, Vikings, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black and The Walking Dead are the nominees.

The network has also set some additional social elements. Through a partnership with Tumblr, fan art from nominated shows will be displayed during the red carpet telecast as cast members arrive. The casts of Bates Motel, Vikings, Broad City, Orange Is the New Black and The Walking Deal will be featured.

Fans will be able to tweet a glass of champagne to actors during commercial breaks.

During the award show, an iPad mini will be on each table, allowing celebrities to interact with fans and send photos and Vine videos using the @CriticsChoice handle. A&E called tablet and floral arrangement a social centerpiece.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.