Oscar TV Ratings Boom, Despite Show Knocks

By Robert Marich
   Feb. 26, 2013-ABC Television’s audience for Sunday’s Oscar telecast soared, which is a sign of success, but reviews of the Seth MacFarlane-hosted show are mixed. The TV ratings were the best in three years, which is positive because digital media increases audience fragmentation every year.
   New York Post critic Kyle Smith wrote a particularly vitriolic review, ripping into the telecast’s spoof of seeing women’s breasts in films. “Hey, Oscar: We saw your boob Sunday night. His name is Seth MacFarlane,” wrote Smith. “MacFarlane’s tone-deaf, unfunny, sexist, puerile, straight-from-the-ninth-grade-locker-room ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ routine about nekkid actresses was lower than a cockroach’s pedicure.”
   Smith also said the video appearance of Michelle Obama was questionable because the First Lady is a polarizing figure.
   Host MacFarlane has let it be known he won’t host the Oscars next year. But the motion picture academy is probably happy given the TV audience gains.
   The audience ratings were a smashing success on ABC. The Oscars awards telecast attracted 40.3 million viewers, up 1 million viewers from last year, when Billy Crystal hosted.  Even more heartening, the MacFarlane-hosted show posted big gains in younger demographics, and the knock on the Oscars is that it skews old audience. 
   “It was the most-watched Academy Awards ceremony since the 2010 Academy Awards pulled in 41.7 million viewers with hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin,” says another Post article.
   ABC Television charged an estimated $1.65-$1.8 million per 30-second commercial, showing improvement over last year. Overall, ad rates collapsed in the 2008 financial meltdown and when the pre-meltdown rate was $1.7 million.
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