The People's Choice Awards were created by Bob Stivers, who produced the first show in 1975. The first awards recognized The Sting as Favorite Picture of 1974, Barbra Streisand as the year's Favorite Film Actress, and John Wayne as its Favorite Film Actor. Ratings for the annual event peaked in 1977, when the third People's Choice Awards attracted 35.3 million viewers who witnessed Farrah Fawcett win the award for Favorite Female TV Star, Star Wars win as the Favorite Picture, and Streisand and Wayne win again in the Film Actress and Actor categories. So far, Ellen DeGeneres is the most awarded person with a total of 20 awards.
In 1982, Stiver sold the People's Choice Awards to Procter & Gamble Productions; under P&G, the ceremony was broadcast by CBS, and Procter & Gamble's brands held exclusive national advertising time across the entire telecast. In April 2017, it was announced that NBCUniversal property E! had acquired the People's Choice Awards.
In December 2017, it was announced that the presentation would also move from early-January to November (with the 44th edition scheduled for November 11, 2018), so that it will no longer be part of the dense January month of the traditional awards season. The ceremony will be televised by E! and its international affiliates, with the network planning an "end-to-end" experience that will leverage its experience in covering other awards shows.