UPDATE: Oscar Ratings Down From 2010

UPDATE NOON: ABC’s time zone-adjusted ratings for last night’s 83rd Academy Awards are in, confirming the drop from last year’s telecast. Some 37.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the show from 8:30-11:30 PM, down 9% from last year. In adults 18-49, the Oscars drew an 11.7 rating, down 12%  from last year. With hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, who are smack in the middle of the 18-34 demo, the ceremony was down even in that category from last year when 50something Alec Baldwin and 60something Steve Martin were the hosts – it slipped 5%. Here is historic data on the Oscars viewership over the past decade, along with the best picture winner that year:

2011 37.6 million The King’s Speech
2010 41.3 million The Hurt Locker
2009 36.3 million Slumdog Millionaire
2008 32.0 million No Country For Old Men
2007 40. 2 million The Departed
2006 38.9 million Crash
2005 42.1 million Million Dollar Baby
2004 43.5 million Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2003 33.0 million Chicago
2002 41.8 million A Beautiful Mind
2001 42.9 million Gladiator

PREVIOUS 8AM: The 83rd Academy Awards did only a little better in the ratings than it did in reviews. From 8:30-11:30 PM, the show, which was universally panned by critics, drew a 24.6 household rating/37 share in the metered markets. That was down 7% from last year’s 26.5 rating, reversing a ratings upswing in the past 2 years after the awards show hit an all-time low in 2008. Still, last night’s ceremony did better than that 2008 telecast as well as the one in 2009. Probably helping things a bit was  the fact that most of the 10 best picture nominees, including the night’s big winner, The King’s Speech, were popular films that had crossed the $100 million mark.

We will know in a couple of hours for sure if the show scored with young viewers what the producers’ intention  was in tapping 20something James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts. (ABC has ordered time-adjusted fast nationals for the live broadcast.) In Nielsen’s 26 Local People Meter markers, the Oscars averaged a 14.5 rating among adults 18-49, down slightly from the 14.8 rating for last year’s ceremony hosted by 65-year-old Steve Martin and 52-year-old Alec Baldwin. The top markets for Oscar viewing were New York (33.9 rating), San Francisco (33.6), Chicago (33), Kansas City (32.7) and Boston (32 rating). The only originals to air against the Oscar telecast were CBS’ The Amazing Race (2.1/5 in 18-49 in the fast nationals, down 16% from last week) and CSI: Miami (2.0//5, down 9%). Both logged their lowest-rated first-run episodes ever.

Here are the metered markets household Oscar ratings for the past 5 years.

2011 24.6/37

2010 26.5/40

2009 23.3/35

2008 21.9/33

2007 27.7/42

    1. No, it isn’t. And James Franco’s boredom mirrored the viewers. It was dull, tired and pushed.

      Comedy is an art form. Having comedy writers script a show for two very unfunny celebs was doomed from the start. Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal are legends of comedy and are universally loved.

      But since the Academy is intent on experimentation, how about Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law for next year. When they were presenting I thought it would be a great fit.

      1. Or how about Robin Williams as host. He can even have David Letterman do a special Oscar Top 10 “Things You Didn’t Know About the Best Picture Nominees.” Put the winner back in the pack and have Dave scream it was rigged just before sign-off, but after the final speech is over.

      2. You are so right Mr Savvydude.

        What an absolute dismal shame it is, with lashings of irony to boot, that Hollywood, with all it’s supposed ‘talent pool’ of writers, actors and comedians at it’s finger tips, with a show commemorating the best of it’s craft, and yet it can not produce a sharp, sassy, comedic funfest of high jinx worthy of high praise.

        The Academy thought that by keeping the show young it would drag in the viewers, I think David Seidler, probably the oldest recipient of an award, proved that age has no reference to entertainment, that’s if you are good and he was just picking up his prize! His speech was spot on, it was relevant and clever – and true, he is a writer which possibly gives him a bit of an edge with words, but surely every ‘so called’ bright and creative person in that auditorium who had to get up there and contribute in some way to the collaboration of putting on a memorable show was capable of doing more than just uttering someone else’s lines and half baked boring ones at that??

        Or have people lost the art of being inventive, spontaneous and dry. On the spot, quick witted and thinking outside of the box. Have folk become just so programmed? The Bob Hope’s, Johnny Carson’s and Billy Crystal’s of this world were natural talents, they didn’t have to think about it, they just were. Take politicians, everything has to be scripted and written down for them or else, god forbid, they may have to think on their own two feet and that would not do, one might make a faux pas. Maybe those guys should watch Prime Minister’s question time on a Wednesday in the house of commons in London (BBC), then they would know what being put on the spot and coming up trumps was really all about! The ground does sometimes swallow you up, but hey, that’s life – taking chances.

        Take the time when David Niven had a streaker dash past him on the Oscar podium and this sharp witted specimen turned calmly back to his microphone, not missing a beat but with a delicious wryness delighted the audience with his succinct response, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?” – (Maybe this was scripted, who really knows)

        Where are these wonderful comedians that we once knew. Surely they are not all long gone and nearly buried? Has life become so pathetically lame that all we have left is to take pot shots at the very unfunny Charlie Sheen? Well I guess with that chosen scenario the studios will have the last laugh so that at least makes it worth while.

          1. Yes, far too verbose. Fifty words would have sufficed … . I probably can do it in twelve. Let’s see ….

            “Hollywood, for all its resources, can’t produce an Oscar show worthy of the name.”

            Close enough. More-to-the point, that will get read.

          2. If everyone was the same as you in life, things would definitely be terribly grim – alternative, ‘Reading for Dummies’ I am certain it’s out there! And just for good measure, watching ‘Two and a half men.’

          3. You are the dummy, deanb. She was breing it down for you, you idiot. You think there is any wit in a Tweet? I’d take one David Niven over a thousand Gen Tweets any day of the week.

    2. Next Year they should just superimpose BOB HOPE into the show (like they did) and make him host the entire thing.

      1. With CGI, why not bring them back? Beats the stiffs they have bombed with “live” from the Kodak.

      2. That wouldn’t work.
        You saw how badly the academy handles deceased actors, they even omitted several major stars from their memorial tribute.
        Maybe next year the theme for the show could be tied to the ’70s movie…”Up The Academy”

    3. Great move Academy!! Your hosts SUCKED! Franco was stoned, and Hathaway came off as nervous and phony…but at least she’s lucky enough to breathe the same air as Oprah! Idiot. And uh, Kirk Douglas, I’m sorry you had a stroke but for the love of God, please hang it up. It’s okay to NOT be on camera.

      PS – No one cares about short films so why are we awarding these weirdos with Oscars? Annoying. Worst Oscars ever!!!

      1. “…And uh, Kirk Douglas, I’m sorry you had a stroke but for the love of God, please hang it up. It’s okay to NOT be on camera.”

        It figures someone would post this crap using “anonymous”. You are a d-bag, plain and simple.

      2. I agree. The show was pretty boring. Ann gave it her best but Franco was a DUD.
        As for Kirk Douglas, you are wrong about that (and unnecessarily obnoxious.)
        I thought he was ADORABLE and I was glad to see him.

      3. Kirk Douglas added warmth and character to an otherwise bland and poorly produced three and a half hours. His appearance on the show displayed his personal courage and his presentation was very well received by his peers. Don’t forget that the award ceremony is supposed be all about academy members being honored by their peers.

        1. I’m sorry, legend or no, I couldn’t understand a word Kirk Douglas said. It was brutal. “Ya know…?” All these awkward pauses. I actually thought he was gonna drop dead before he announced the winner. Like an old ham, he kept milking it. If I were one of the nominees, I would have been pissed. Love the guy but come on. The great Ernest Borgnine would have been a way better choice if you’re gonna dust off an old guy.

      4. this wasn’t Ann or Jame’s fault, it was whoever put this show together, director, writers etc. The script was awful. Most of all the celebs there were “b” list, and so were the nominees & winners! Let’s talk excitement with Colin & Natalie…..No Nicholson, no Clooney, no Brad & Angie…
        Ann & James did the best they could with what they had. Not even Bob Hope or Billy Crystal could have saved this.

    4. Boredom sets in before the show even starts. With all the awards shows that precede it, by the time the Oscar’s are on, who cares. The winners were a given, we are tired of “who are you wearing” and the winners don’t have much new to say. The list of names stays the same. Boring.

  1. it was an appalling show, no glamour, no dun, not chic, no elegance. I fell asleep and let it record and then deleted it this morning. it was awful. the womens gowns were mostly dreadful except for mss Paltrow (Mrs Martin). BORING BORING BORING,. NOT a patch as good as the British BAFTA’s.

    1. BORING– than why watch???
      ALL of you Fink-clones should really be asking why that no talent troll Bruch Vilanch is still the head writer for these— according to Fink et al — disasters????
      NO TALENT Vilanch gets a pass, YET AGAIN? If it is not on the page it is not on the stage! How many years does this no talent hulk/hack get to excrete his crap upon the Academy and the public?

  2. The show was abysmal. The numbers were down because of counter programming i.e., Knicks/Heat on ESPN, the lack of any black nominees (some may disagree, but true), and the show was very easy to tune out after watching for only few minutes, because the writing was that bad.

    1. Not really. The numbers were down because the show sucked. If ESPN had the game on the air, it actually didn’t promote it because of corporate synergy. Besides, if the Oscars did do pretty well, it is because of the host in most years. This is an awards show that can draw 80 million people if possible.

    2. One thing is a truism….if you have actors of color (Asian/Latino/Black) then you’ll get a bigger TV viewership because we want to see our own walk across the stage and give an acceptance speech.

      but the show really did suck. A lot of folks turned it off after one hour.

      Next year let’s bring in Marc Burnett or Nigel Lythgoe to produce….or one of the Tony producers because these other producers don’t know what the f&&ck they’re doing.

      I would like to see the Red Carpet replaced with a camera following someone like Melissa or Natalie around to choose a dress and get their hair done, etc. etc. Or the guys like Bale, getting fitted for a tux. What exactly goes into those styling sessions? The red carpet was so boring….the same questions, the same people….the same designers. I’m turning off the Red Carpet next year — unless they bring in Kathy Griffin or Joan Rivers.

      The show needs some humor some entertainment. It takes itself too serious.

  3. Is there any wonder that these award shows are sagging in viewers>? The movies that are being released lately are about as terrible as they get. Who in their right mind pays $50 dollars to see a B movie. Wait, 2 months rent it for $6. At least by renting you can turn it off, hurl nasty comments at the screen, build a model ship.

        1. How gluttonous do you have to be to not be able to sit for 2 hrs without stuffing your gaping maw? You can cut that $50 figure nearly in half if you don’t get refreshments and go to a matinee. Voila. It has the added benefit of ending early enough in the evening to get the kids to bed at a decent hour and put off that massive coronary from eating even more junk food. Two adults can see a movie for $15 if they want. I’ve had truly magical movie experiences that don’t involve a giant tub of popcorn. Try it sometime.

          1. Oh M!!! I haven’t laughed so hard since yesterday! What a great post. You should get a gig writing for the Oscars! “Stuffing your gaping maw!” Priceless.

  4. If they wanted a younger demographic, why not go with a comic like Dmitri Martin? Actors just aren’t as good as comics when it comes to hosting duties.

    1. Another hipster twentysomething to save the day? We saw how the “younger” hosts did. No thanks.

      1. They had the perfect host earlier in the decade. His name is Chris Rock. Unfortunately, the new generation on non-A-listers got their panties in a bunch when he called out their pal Jude Law. A guy who couldn’t put fannies in the seat if they lit him on fire.

        The problem with the show is the folks in Hollywood want to get a huge licensing fee and a huge audience without actually giving the fans a reason to tune in. It’s that simple. The nominate flicks like Winter’s Bone, 127 Hours and The Kids Are All Right that no one outside of the film festival crowd ever saw in a theater (and which Hollywood themselves watched on screeners) and then they have two young actors who no one goes to see in films (check the BO totals for Franco outside of the Spiderman flicks or Hathaway’s BO totals since she did the Princess Diaries and the Devil Wears Prada and you’ll see what I mean) and wonder why the ratings keep going down.

        Fact is the numbers will be even more abysmal next year unless someone like Cameron or Spielberg saves them by making a big crowd pleasing flick and managing to get nominated. Of course if they do get nominated you can be sure the Academy summoned up the appropriate amount of schadenfreude to give the best picture to this years winner of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

  5. When a group of experts try nd making calculated creative choices to appeal to all the result always seems to be that it appeals to no one. The academy awards shouldn’t be about trying to be hip and commercial, it should be an homage to movies. Get rid of the nonsense, let the comedians tell the jokes, the actors (real ones) introduce the rewards, those who win talk about their craft and just showcase the movies.

    1. This is absolutely right. The same clique that has highjacked the Academy itself, thinks pandering is the way to go. Pander to ratings, to youth, to advertisers – anything other than a presentation of the artform itself. They don’t trust the films to speak for themselves and that’s the irony of the whole shebang. Also, isn’t that phrase “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn” getting a bit overused? That’s usually Larry King’s schtick but last night Sherak used it, suggesting an immediate understanding of what he means. Trouble is, it has no meaning anymore – that was cute 40 years ago. Sorta.

    2. I agree,
      let people with live audience entertainment host, and what about the production value, what was going on with the camera work, there was so many side angle shots??
      There was hardly any panning to the audience, maybe because they were just as bored

  6. I would love to see the half hour breakdown. My reactions to the first 30 minutes: Anne was a spaz, James was high, Kirk was uncomfortable to watch, and Justin and Mila’s presentation was painfully unfunny and awkward. It was about that time that I turned over to Amazing Race.

  7. I agree with mct that the show was down because of counter programming and lack of black nominees. Funny how the only Blacks at the Oscars, besides Oprah, were previous winners Jennifer Hudson and Halle Berry. A competitive game between the Knicks-Heats had the sports fan, including Spike Lee, watching that instead the show. There were no upsets at the Oscars. In a year when ratings for the Super Bowl, Golden Globes, and Grammys were up, how is it that the Oscar went down?

    1. GENIUS, guess you missed the politically correct EXTRA tribute to Lena Horne— who I believe made less than 10 films in her entire career; nor would anyone call an “actress”.
      “Woman of Color”— beige– Halle Berry singled out less than stellar talent Horne to proove the politically correct thrive in HOllywood.
      MAybe next time we should have the Harleem Globetrotters shoot around during the song catagory?

  8. To be honest I did not even tune in because the lack of African- American represented in the show. Well Thats my reason not sure for the next person. They need some action at those shows everyone seem so scripted even when receiving awards. Well hopefully they find and create new ideals in for the show I think they can be traditional and modern at the same time with a hipper environment. Good Luck hope the Oscars will be relavant in the next 5, I mean 3 years.

      1. Hey, DJT, Karen and the idiot that made the comment about Lena Horne:
        The point of the discussion is that there needs to me a more direct reflection of society in our film and television. Similar to what is happening in Film making world at large. (Side bar: funny how once the most progressive country in the world is becoming the most rigid to now support change in society). Back to the point….The world of film making looks more like a 7-11 mini market, mid afternoon, as opposed to a purely mono crowd we are continuing to witness as nominees, award winners and attendees. ADDITIONALLY, films that do not mirror our society as a whole nor display relevance to our society are like a Pinto in the fast lane; UNBELIEVABLE & out of date. However, considering all of the time required to paint all those pretty “tea party” signs, I understand your lack of knowledge as to the relevance of people such as Lena Horne to our great industry.

        P.s. great choice on James and Anne to host the show this year :)

    1. Whose work was slighted as you said you did not tune in because no “African Americans” were represented? First of all, that is NOT true. Second of all, are you aware that people with black skin have won Oscars? Halle Berry and Denzel Washington come to mind. Their performances WERE THE BEST the years they won. I hope that one day you will judge people based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

      1. I think what Mike is trying to say is we need more diversity. Black, Asian, and any other race. The UK does it. Why can’t we? The awards were boring because of the hosts, the producing and lack of Diversity. Same ole stupid faces. Some old… Some new… some recycled. I mean, lets be honest The Entertainment Industry needs to let other races come in. behind the scenes and in front. Not just black faces. All faces. We are tired of the same faces.

        1. I think the lack luster writing can also be attributed to the lack of diversity. If they are seeking to appear more hip get the hottest artist of the year as the house band for the night. Get Lisa Lampanelli to host; she’ll roast everyone in the room, and ditch the classical music, it’s monotonous.

        2. Why is it that you need to speak for Mike? I do not live in the UK and could care less what they do in the UK. I also believe that we have plenty of representation of everyone on film and TV and anyone who does not believe so is just a whiner.

  9. Did anyone else notice how bad the sound was for the musical numbers? Randy Newman could not be heard over his music and the reverb was horrbile on all of them. Great job sound people!

    1. The audio was HORRIBLE…for everything. This show has a 30 million dollar budget…and can and usually do hire the best in their field.
      Obviously, those people were busy elsewhere, and no one was manning the bridge.

      The audio in particular was …missing.

      1. Yeah especially when you had Franco clapping his hardest right into his mic after every presenter was introduced.

  10. if you think this was the worst oscars ever, have a flashback to 1988, just skip to the three minute mark in this link and see how rob lowe and snow white match up with anne & james

    1. How soon we forget … how blisteringly awful that “Snow White” shtick was. Yeah, I thought last night’s Oscars were the worst — until I was “re-introduced” to this pathetic excuse for “musical entertainment at the Academy Awards.”

  11. Why can’t Bruce Vilanch sit one year out? Is there no one who can tell him the truth. It’s not all his fault, but clearly the formula doesn’t work – at all. Sometimes the show is bad, but good enough in spots to offset the awfulness. But last night was not only bad tv, but boring bad tv, which is worse.

  12. I know I’m one of few, but I liked it. It was nice that there weren’t a bunch of huge musical numbers, as those always come across as trying-too-hard.

    Most people were pretty classy and laid-back. I liked that. No absurd outfits or jewelry or anything like that. It reflected the current economic climate of the country, while at the same time staying upbeat and glamorous in its own way.

    That said, it would be great to see Billy Crystal do it again. I’m part of that younger demographic (26) they’re apparently after, and while the musical bits tend to annoy me, Billy’s comic timing is always impeccable and good-natured.

  13. Bad. Here’s what REAL FOLKS want; great songs, performed well. And results READ. No silly noise, no DRAG (although I thought he wore the dress really well lol!) don’t DO IT! Look, you guys who produce these shows need to get out more; we HATE political references—thank goodness there was none of that! We dislike stupid bits. The full orchestra on stage SHOULD HAVE BEEN longer; music IS CRITICAL for films and they got what, a scant 90 SECONDS if that! We love scripts that get into scene fast. There’s a reason. 1 star out of five for this year’s show.

  14. It’s amusing to see how shocked, SHOCKED people are every year that the Oscars are boring. There has never been an end-to-end entertaining show. We remember the amazing moments, and conflate it all into one gauzy memory. Bob Hope was way tired by the end of his run, and so was Billy Crystal. And I for one don’t miss dance-production numbers.

    Hosting this year was awkward, but the real killer this year was the lack of a similar memorable moment. Couple nice speeches. Safe Best Picture choice. All forgettable.

  15. The Oscars telecast this year was borderline unwatchable. After awhile, I gave up and switched over to Big Love.

    I did like the switch-up for the In Memoriam segment – no applause, not having to watch Celine Dion emote and just listening to her sing that tribute. It was a nice touch.

    If the Oscars want to make their telecasts more interesting, try the following:

    *Mix the presentation of some of the major award categories (i.e., the acting categories) up with the categories about which the general public could care less. If you’re counting on the normal folks to bring in ratings, then you can’t push the categories we actually care about to the last 15 minutes of the show.

    *Nix the Best Original Song performances. Just show snippets, like it’s done with every other category. I don’t need to see Gwenyth Paltrow attempt to convince me that she’s now a country star.

    *Make the jokes funnier. Bob Hope was the funniest thing about the show. How many years has he been dead?

    *Quit trying to be edgy and unpredictable with hosting choices. Find what works and stick with it. I always enjoyed Billy Crystal. What’s it going to be next year in order to bring in that young demographic? Taylor Lautner and the girl from iCarly?

  16. Young people dont watch the oscars. They watch the Peoples Choice awards or the Grammys and the young urbans watch the Independent Spirit but NOBODY has patience for the Oscars anymore. The music stinks, the stars inspire the contempt that familiarity breeds and the stuff that is supposed to be funny never is. And then they expect you to watch 4 hours of it.
    You see some disconnect in the nominated stars – mostly middle aged – in films that were (for the most part) mature and you try to snazz it up with youngsters. And the thing is – to the real “youngsters” Hathaway and Franco are sort of middle aged – or at least been around so long and been so overexposed that they dont seem fresh or new.
    Trying to hold on to todays attention challenged audience with a show that is by its nature stodgy and clumsy is a losing battle.

  17. I think it is kind of funny almost that ABC didn’t make ESPN push up a very down to the wire and exciting Knicks/Heat game to early in the day so their own sister network wasn’t competing so hard against them for viewers

  18. All of the acting winners have eon just about every single awards show. So they have practice. If they move the show to March there would be more suspense.

  19. I’m not surprised that the hot tickets now are for the Governor’s night. It’s where the real fun happens.

  20. Nikki was right: overnight ratings don’t lie:

    Updated total audience and demo numbers, respectively, by half-hour:

    8:30-9PM: 37.47m viewers: 11.4/28
    9-9:30: 35.33m: 11.1/26
    9:30-10: 34.09m: 10.9/26
    10-10:30: 31.38m: 10.2/26
    10:30-11PM: 29.08m: 9.5/26

    No ratings available for 11PM-end, PI Feedback estimates 33.3 million viewers and 10.6 rating/26 share among adults 18-49 from 8:30-11. They suggested the ratings would go DOWN in the final half-hour.

    Source: http://pifeedback.com/eve/foru…63310451/m/380108553

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