Monday, May 20, 2024

Oscars: After All That the Ratings Went Up 6 Percent Without a Host, or Kendrick Lamar, or Involving “Real People”


There was no host, we know that whole story.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar, nominated for Best Song for “All the Stars,” wouldn’t perform for any of the stars. The reason? “He wanted to make it all about Black Lives Matter,” said one source. The other, he wanted a huge stage production. His “song,” as turns out, can’t just be performed on a stage, simply.

There was no involvement with “real people”– no one got pizza or cookies, or whatever. There was no wading into the audience for selfies.

It was just a clean, economic Oscars. And surprise! The ratings went up. Six percent. More people watched than in many years.

One definite help: the Grammy-ing of the show. Queen opened with Adam Lambert replacing Freddie Mercury. (If only someone had replaced Brian May. He’s quite unfriendly in person.) Also increasing interest were Bette Midler, Jennifer Hudson, and obviously the pairing of Lady Gaga with  Bradley Cooper.

This year, 29.6 million people watched, up from 26.5 million last year. And last year was down down down from prior years.

In Hollywood, success means that’s the way it will go next time. So next year, when the Oscars air two unholy weeks earlier on February 9th, expect no host, a big rock band or Beyonce opening the show, and a very efficient set up. No more yada yada. Just cut to the chase.

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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