Oscars ratings down from last year

Oscar-ratingsImage Credit: A.M.P.A.S.ABC’s sleepy presentation of the Academy Awards not only turned off most critics (and blew up Twitter), but also sank in the ratings from last year.

The show delivered 37.6 million viewers and an 11.7 adults 18-49 rating, down 12 percent from last year in the demo, despite the Academy picking youth-targeted hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to draw a younger audience. ABC touted the 83rd annual telecast as having the show’s “second biggest audience since 2007,” and added that the telecast, as is typical, bested the 2010 Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Grammy Awards.

Read more:
EW’s Oscars Central
Oscars hosts: Did James Franco and Anne Hathaway do a good job?
Oscars: What you didn’t see on TV
Backstage buzz from Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, David Seidler, Lee Unkrich, and Luke Matheny
Oscars 2011: 20 key moments
Oscars 2011: Best and worst style


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  • ks

    When you are the Oscars during the NHRA Winternationals and NBA what do you expect.

    • Spike L.

      I don’t know what NHRA is, but I caught myself watching a lot of that Knicks/Heat game…it was great.
      And starting the show off with a Billy Crystal rip-off, art & cinematography awards, and Kirk Douglas for ten minutes didn’t really get things off to an impressionable start.

      • PN

        I was worried about the Knicks/Heat game against the Oscars, but maybe that game took a chunk of that Oscars’ audience.

      • ks

        National Hot Rod Assoc. Top Fuel, Funny Car PS first race of the season, after that was over I did find myself watching the game :)

  • abb

    In addition, with many folks losing their jobs, homes, vehicles & concerned about employment, or where their next meal is coming from, these folks have other things on their minds.

    • topoopon

      In the same respect, people who still have jobs, but have no money, sit home and watch network TV.

    • Jack

      Not necessarily. When times are tough, a bit of glamorous escapism is often all people want. Problem is, the ceremony was a bore-fest.

      • jack King

        true. I suggest they hire Hathaway again next year but have her wear different thing bikinis throughout the ceremony.

    • DRG

      Other things on their mind like who wins the Superbowl?

    • MrTemecula

      I don’t think the economy had anything to do with it. The Grammy and Emmy rating were up. It had more to do that mega-blockbusters were not nominated. No Titanic,. No Lord of the Rings. Plus for an Award Show, there is very little show. Tech awards are important, but they drag down the show. Plus, the history of the Oscar…dull. Why was Bob Hope dragged into it? The Oscars is still the highest rated among the awards, but I would not be surprised if the Grammy passes it soon. The Grammy is just entertaining. The Oscar, not so much.

    • Michael

      No, I think there’s definitely a joy in the escapism of it all, despite these being tough times for average people like me.

      • Michael

        Then again, I am only one person, so I speak only for myself, though I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion.

  • Jose

    Well what did they expect? The projected winner was The King’s Speech, something that the younger demo was not interested in.

    • Hipster

      But…but…but this was the “young, hip” Oscars.

      Bwhahaha.

    • PN

      Oh I know a lot of young people that watched The King’s Speech. It’s not all about blockbuster films, silly comedies, some dramas and romcoms that they watch. They wanted to watch acting with depth and they also went for King’s Speech just as much as The Social Network and the other nominees!

      • Jose

        I know, I was one of them that saw The King’s Speech as well as 8 other of the best picture noms. But we all wanted Social Network to win (not the entire demo, just me and my friends)

  • BCav

    Should have gone with Ricky Gervais…

    • StephenKC

      Amen! Hollywood may loathe him, but there’s no denying that The Globes were 10 times more fun to watch than last night’s snoozefest.

  • Miss Talk

    This is the first time I miss the Oscars in 10 years and obviously I didn’t miss anything : The King’s Speech won as expected, Nathalie, Melissa, Colin and Christian won too. And Inception collected the technical awards. As expected.
    I’m not surprised the duo of hosts didn’t attract more people. It’s not because they can pull off comedic roles that they’re stand up comedians. Next time, for such predictable nights, they should put the money on the table and get Jim Carrey.

  • jack King

    I thought Hathaway was adorable and fun to watch, while Franco seemed to be sleep walking. I think the ratings were down because everyone knew who the big winners would be (i.e. no surprises) and they were right. King’s Speech swept the board. As for gaining younger viewers, both the Academy and ABC need to finally realize that if you keep nominating and awarding stuffy dramas no one sees — especially younger viewers, then younger viewers will not watch the show no matter who hosts.

    • PN

      I think that a lot of the movies nominated were well received this year rather than movies nobody saw last year or 2 years before. But it was a very tight contest between King’s Speech, Social Network and Inception. I wanted to see it go down and it was an even number of awards for all of them!

    • DRG

      TKS has grossed $114 million. Social Network has grossed 97 million. More people sae the “stuffy drama” than saw the young, hip movie that appealed to “younger” viewers.

  • Rack

    No surprise there. This is the movies and people go to the movies for entertainment; not constant fawning dullness and flat jokes. Pretty outfits and dull nominees can only take it so far.

  • Heleen

    Why sit around for 12 hours watching the Oscars when you can just read all about it on the internet the next day?

    • ks

      Oh yea! so true

      • DRG

        Why spend 12 hours watching the Superbowl when you can just read about it on the internet the next day?

      • Rack

        @DRG its not the same at all. Superbowl is 1000xs more exciting than the Oscars. Plus, what other time do people sit around just to watch the ads?

  • BP

    Ratings are down. Noat a shock. People are fed up. The most popular movie with the viewers at home is either not nominated or has no chance of winning, and the most critcially acclaimed movie usually doesn’t win either. When this happens about 90% of the time, who bothers watching? And when the hosts have almost no following, that doesn’t help either. They weren’t terrible, but even with “the youth” it’s not like James Franco and Anne Hathaway have much name recognition. It would be like if in 1993 they decided to have Brad Pitt and Penelope Anne Miller host.

    • PN

      I think it’s really hard to top the 1998 Oscars, when Titanic of 1997 won multiple awards and the show got 55 million viewers! The movie was still running in theatres when the show aired. Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On from the movie was No. 1 for multiple weeks. That’s probably why the last 13 Oscars broadcasts have fallen far short of it. Yes it will attract 30, 35 to 40 million a year, but it will never top 1998. Sometimes movies have to grab you by the heart. I think this year’s 2011 awards had a strong set of movies, but it will never top Titanic’s sweep in ’98.

      • Alan of Montreal

        But if that’s true, why didn’t last year’s Oscars do well, either? It had Avatar, after all

      • Jose

        Because everyone knew The Hurt Locker would dominate. Plus for some reason it seems that Titanic resonated more with audience members.

  • Chris

    A few things I would change:

    1. Start an Academy Viewer Voter Award category, with people voting online to choose a winner from the 10 nominees. Present the award at the midway point, so it doesn’t look awkward to watch Toy Story 3 and The King’s Speech win a Best Picture award. Didn’t they expand the Best Picture field to get more viewers interested? Well, why not have them vote for their choice?

    • PN

      I don’t think they want to ride on the online trend. They’re a more traditional kind of awards, where they like to mail the ballots to nominees.

      • Chris

        How’s that working out for them? Not so good.

    • DRG

      They already have that. Its called The People’s Choice Awards.

      • Chris

        Then put the Best Picture films back to 5 and the directors of those films are your Best Director nominees.

  • Chris

    2. ONLY ONE PERSON accepts the award. We don’t need half the audience going up on stage to accept a best picture award.

  • grandpajoe

    The show was B O R I N G !!!! – There must be a better way – perhaps have the hosts of ET do the show they would be better!

  • Chris

    3. Pick 3 or 4 sponsors, and each one sponsors an hour of the Awards, no commercial interruptions. Hire a band for each hour to play music in between someone getting an award. For example, you can have Arcade Fire play in between music for an hour, then switch to another group.

    • PN

      Also, stop the commercials!!! I saw far more commercials than the awards show itself, a lot of 3 to 4 minute blocks of commercials. I saw so much of the Diet Coke and JCPenney commericials too many times! This way they can end the show on time at 3 hours even and slash out some of the bloated, bland, dull stretches that put some viewers to sleep. They’ve been running over the 3 hour time ever since the early ’90s. They’ve gotten kind of lazy with the length of the awards the past 5 years as if they kill some time backstage between commercials!

      • Alan of Montreal

        it’s highly unlikely they’ll get rid of the commercials–that’s how they pay for the broadcast!

  • Chris

    4. Start a yearlong or 6 month search to find someone who is not a celebrity to cohost the awards with a celebrity. The home audience would keep track of the people auditioning, it would keep the Awards fresh in everyone’s minds, and it would generate a curiosity factor that would help ratings.

  • BP

    Did expanded the best picture group from 5 to 10 actually make much of a difference? Does anyone think that there is ever more than two films that have a chance of winning anyway. I mean, you could expand the list to 30 films, and there more than likely are only going to be a couple that have any sort of chance of winning. I guess it looks good for PR though when you can slap “Nominated for Best Picture” on something like Star Trek that had zero chance of winning.

    • Chris

      Yeah, I think it’s a stupid idea, but since they’ve done it to get more ratings and viewer interest, they should find a way to involve the viewer in picking the winner.

      • BP

        I agree.

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