Oscar telecast shows some rust


The 2015 Oscars telecast declines from last season

Mirroring the film industry, The 87th Academy Awards saw some major ratings declines from a year ago.

According to Nielsen, the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted extravaganza drew 36.6 million viewers and a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49. While any network or TV station would kill for those numbers, the Oscars were down considerably from the 43.7 million viewers and 13.1 adults 18-49 rating from last year when Ellen DeGeneres was host. This year’s Oscar telecast lost 16 percent of its total viewership and was down 18 percent in the 18-49 demo.

Chicago’s WLS finished second behind Los Angeles’ KABC (33.5) and barely ahead of New York’s WABC (32.4) with a 32.5 household rating, but was down nearly 10 percent from last year. Milwaukee’s WISN clocked in with a 25.2, while San Antonio’s KSAT earned a 23.8 – which was actually up from last year’s 22.5 (up 5.78 percent.)

As for the show itself, many thought Harris wasn’t able to top DeGeneres last year, who made the show quite interesting with a world-record breaking selfie Twitter stunt and ordering pizza for those in attendance. Harris’ stunt was lame by comparison, with his “predictions” locked in a suitcase. Would’ve been more fun if it contained the million dollars NBC forgot to give away on Deal or No Deal.

The pictures nominated weren’t exactly box-office blockbusters, aside from American Sniper, and may have contributed to the lower numbers. An original Walking Dead and the WWE’s pay-per-view aired opposite the Oscars, with the latter draining loyal male viewers away from the telecast. African-American viewers may have also been kept away due to the lack of diversity among the nominees – in fact, hot new drama Empire drew two-and-a-half times more black viewers last week (8.8 million) than the Oscars did (3.3 million.)

Given this, you wonder if these are the numbers The Academy deserve. Two years ago, right here in this space after Seth MacFarlane’s disastrous stint as host, yours truly said The Academy was to blame for putting out such a crappy product with no apologizes amid numerous issues affecting the entertainment industry, such as media consolidation and rocketing cable and satellite bills. Two years later, it seems Academy members have dug in their heels even more, basically telling the public to screw off if they don’t like it.

Well, box office receipts are down from last year and so are the Oscar ratings.

Your move, Academy. Too bad the solution to the industry’s problem wasn’t found in that stupid suitcase.