Seth MacFarlane gives Oscar telecast a ratings boost
While not universally lauded, his performance appears to have juiced viewership in at least one key demographic group.
Early tallies for the show say it earned a 12.1 rating for that group, up more than from 3% from last year's final 11.7 figure, according to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, citing preliminary figures from Nielsen. Entertainment Weekly notes that total ratings for the Oscars also probably rose over last year's show hosted by Billy Chrystal. Final ratings, which may be different, will be released by Nielsen later today.
If these ratings hold, it will be a pleasant surprise for ABC and its corporate parent Walt Disney (DIS).Some had wondered whether MacFarlane, whose TV shows and movies appeal largely to men, would turn off the mostly female Oscar audience. His song-and-dance number celebrating actresses who have shown their breasts on the silver screen may have offended some, but it was tame stuff by MacFarlane's standards.
Best known as the creator of "Family Guy," MacFarlane got mixed reviews for his performance. The Hollywood Reporter noted that "He took the job extremely seriously and put himself out there. Ultimately, he excelled at balance." Others were less kind. USA Today blasted the show as being "awash in self-indulgence."
What many MacFarlane detractors forget, though, is that there's a finite amount of celebrity back-slapping that viewers of the Academy Awards can stomach. Sharp-tongued hosts can remind the TV audience that the well-dressed men and women seated before them are making movies -- not curing cancer.
Given his ratings success and the show's desire to attract younger viewers, MacFarlane could even get asked back to host next year's telecast.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
I watch the Oscars every year but it's pretty much a snooze fest when hosted by the likes of the now-ancient Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. MacFarlane brought in the edgy and at times tasteless humor that was expected of him--and he rocked the joint. My wife and I are beyond that 18-49 key demographic and we thought he was a hoot. His jokes were great, he has an outstanding singlng voice and can dance and--c'mon--a sock puppet version of "Flight", "We Saw Your Boobs", William Shatner as an ancient Capt. Kirk? I loved every minute of it.
It was clearly the BEST Oscars in my lifetime and I also, am way beyond he 18-49 demographic.
Anybody who thought it was crude or tasteless GROW UP!
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