Oscar Ratings At 20 Year Low

Oscars-732859As much as I enjoyed the Oscars last night, it appears that many people decided to skip out on the program and watch something else. We get wind of some disappointing numbers from the hallowed halls of the Hollywood Reporter:

According to ABC’s very preliminary household metered market overnights, the awards averaged a 21.9 rating/33 share. That’s down a sharp 21% from last year and the lowest on record in at least 20 years. The more accurate fast national ratings have been delayed by Nielsen and should be available midday.

Last night’s Oscar telecast, where “No Country for Old Men” took the top prize, was expected to underperform given the lack of movies with broad boxoffice appeal vying for best picture. ABC and producers also were unsure if the Oscars were going forward with a full production until the writers strike was resolved Feb. 12, resulting in last-minute scramble to prepare and market the show.

Well, this sucks. I thought this was an outstanding year for the Oscars, with a great selection of films up for awards I am a little disappointed that interest wasn’t there for the broadcast. The program is notoriously long and I am wondering if people are losing their patience for awards shows, or just have no real desire to see them anymore. I am scratching my head for reasons and if you guys have your own ideas, please share your thoughts.

I wonder if the sheer number of films that are being released are having an impact on the oscars. 20 years ago, everyone was able to see the same films because the choice was slimmer every weekend. Now with a glut of films always coming down the pipe, people are getting more variety, but we are not sharing stories like we used to. People are getting segmented into smaller viewing groups and many people have not had a chance to see all of the nominated films. It’s hard to get excited about nominated films when you haven’t seen them, and you certainly will not sit through an oscar broadcast.

This is disheartening news. Jon Stewart did an outstanding job, the show had a good pace, the nominees were solid and the show gets piss-poor ratings. International friends, do you think anything can be done to save the Oscars as a television event or is it dammed without blockbuster nominees?

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