Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Oscars - Ratings Down the Tubes

Much has been made about the Academy Awards telecast being the lowest-viewed Oscar broadcast ever. I'm still trying to figure out how you can put a negative spin on being the number 1 rated show of the week, higher than all three American Idol episodes. What kind of expectations are we setting when 30+ million viewers and a 29% share of the total audience is not good enough? An Entertainment Weekly article cited the highest-rated Oscar show of all time from the 1950's, which raked in almost 90% of American TV viewers. Well guess what folks...that ain't ever happening again...not even close. There was what - one other TV program on at that time? There are freakin 9,000 channels, mobile phones, IPods, DVRs, and all sorts of other things sapping our already short attention spans. If you lock down 32 million people for a 4-hour TV show, you are doing a damn good job. You simply can't compare the numbers to even those broadcasts from only within the past ten years. We live in a different world now. Yes, maybe there is more of a focus on smaller, "artsier" films than there used to be, but hey, who cares? If Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer or whoever wants to go ahead and make an Oscar-worthy film then make our day! I'm sorry though...the general movie-going public is drawn to (for whatever ungodly reason) Spiderman at a 10x higher rate than it is to There Will Be Blood. But are we going to honor dreck like that for appealing to the lowest common denominator? Gosh I hope not. I didn't agree with the Oscar choices this year, and I usually don't. But I know that the 300-million dollar epics are not going to make the grade. Hollywood needs to resign itself to the fact that the Oscars are the #1 game in town - albeit a much lower #1 than ever before. We should all be so unfortunate.

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