Saturday, April 13, 2024

TV Wars: 2014 Winter Olympics Could Push Oscars to First Sunday in March


Drat! Just when the Academy Awards got a jump on the Golden Globes this year, the Olympics may undo everything. NBC has the Winter Olympics from Russia — starting February 7th and ending Sunday, February 23rd– the day the Oscars would usually be broadcast on ABC. But no one’s going up against the closing ceremonies, especially if Americans have done well in skiing and hockey, not to mention the luge.

And that puts the Oscars in a bind. CBS is likely to announce a January 26th Grammy Awards, one week earlier than usual. And the rest of January is locked up. NBC will put the Globes on January 11th, no doubt. The SAG Awards already commandeered January 18th, and the Directors Guild locked in the for the following weekend.

January, for the movie business, is also occupied by the Sundance Film Festival. “Star Trek” type transporters may have to be installed at Hollywood and Highland, and in Park City, to accommodate the need for quick back and forth trips. (What? They don’t exist? Surely Google can do it.)

Complicating matters is the Super Bowl, live from New York on Fox, is on February 2nd.

An Oscar show on March 2nd isn’t the worst thing in the world. But it will be if Oscar campaigning is restricted for the entire time between the nominations announcement and the show. One thing that keeps the movie alive is the press generated from events tied to Oscar nominations. This year there was a deadly silence from January 10th til February 24th. Ratings were strong for the Oscars show because most of the nominated films made over $100 million and were extremely popular. A real race was on, and fans wanted to see the outcome.

Right now, on the date that this new Oscars show would take place, many of the nominated films are still in theaters. “Silver Linings Playbook” made another $6 million over the weekend. If the show is March 2nd, we may see a lot of Oscar films not get wide releases until mid January, just to prolong the season.

But one thing is certain: NBC needs big ratings with those Olympics. And no one is going to get in their way during February 2014.

PS Don’t forget Jimmy Kimmel will absolutely be hosting that March 2nd on Oscars. ABC will use his show to promote the Oscars the whole month of February during the Olympics.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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