Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Sees Ratings, Puts Head in Plastic Bag

Our local Sunday paper, The Metrolina Disturber, had an Oscar Preview article from the AP containing this quote from Gil Cates, producer of the telecast:

"I think we're going to have a wonderful turnout because there haven't been awards shows. Not only our community is really excited about all of us getting together, but I think out there in the rest of the world, there is awards fever."

Guess again, Gil. No fever detected.

The numbers are in and last night's telecast had a 21% smaller audience than the 2007 show which I didn't watch. In fact, the audience was 14% lower than the all-time stinker show, 2003. You remember that one. The nation was gripped in the 12 month long "rush to war in Iraq." How could Hollywood be happy when Saddam was in danger? Or sumpthin' like that. Hard to remember the lefty rationale sometimes.

Of course, last night the Hollywoodsters dutifully saluted several troop-bashing documentaries.
Perhaps this ratings news shows that bashing America can get you even worse numbers than hand-wringing over a future conflict.

As a former entertainment executive I shall now offer some advice. I will NOT charge an exhorbitant consulting fee for this sage advice:

1. Nominate movies people went to see starring actors they admire.

2. To facilitate #1, make movies that are uplifting and celebrate the greatness of Western Civilization in general and America in particular.

3. If you must throw an award or two to the thousands of left-wing documentarians starving out there, do it at the luncheon early in the week and don't even mention it on TV. They'll appreciate the free meal and not having to rent formal wear. See? Win-Win.

4. Hire a real star to be the host. You remember stars. You used to have them host the show. Guys like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson et al. A guy with a smirky cable TV comedy show isn't a "star." He's a personality. Witty maybe. Clever sometimes. But zero star power. I know this shocks you, but a high percentage of your potential audience has never heard of the guy. Leno they know. Denzel they admire. Will Smith they adore. Try it.

The illustrious academy will pay no attention to any of this. They are like A&R people in the old record business-- more interested in being "hip" in their own little club than coming up with something the masses enjoy.

Good luck.