February 26, 2012

The Sked: ACADEMY AWARDS Telecast Ratings Prediction

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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>Tonight’s Academy Awards telecast on ABC should be short on suspense as The Artist sweeps to victory in the Best Picture and Best Director categories.  (See our Oscar Odds for more.)  While there is a race for Best Actor between Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and George Clooney (The Descendants) and for Best Actress between Viola Davis (The Help) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), none of the four films in the running in the major acting categories has a broad, mainstream following.  The Help has the widest appeal, but that is stretching it.

We are forecasting a 10.4 rating with Adults 18-49 for the Oscars telecast tonight from 8:30 pm to approximately midnight ET, falling below the current record low of 10.7 for 2008’s ceremony, when No Country for Old Men beat Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood for Best Picture.  Also, there should be an average audience of 32.9 million viewers (ages 2 years or older) over the course of the show, not quite a record low.  2008 should keep that distinction (31.8 million), mainly because of population increases since then.  

The number to beat this year in the awards show world is the 14.1 rating with Adults 18-49 for The Grammys on February 12.  The real news would be if the Academy Awards even comes close to that mark.  

Note: The first numbers available Monday morning will be the fast national ratings, which measure the entire country but miscalculate the viewership Pacific and Mountain time zones (because the Oscars show, like live sports, is broadcast live to all time zones rather than the normal tape-delayed feed to the western United States).  The fast nationals for the Oscars could be as low as a 9.0 rating, awaiting a hefty adjustment upward when the western US ratings are re-processed.  Certainly, ABC has requested expedited official national ratings for the Oscars (which Nielsen will provide for an additional fee) to prevent especially low (and inaccurate) numbers from circulating in the press.


           ACADEMY AWARDS Telecast Viewership
               Adult   Viewers
               18-49     2+     
               Rating  millions  BEST PICTURE
   2012 Feb 26  10.4*   32.9*    The Artist*
   2011 Feb 27  11.8    37.6     The King’s Speech
   2010 Mar  7  13.3    41.6     The Hurt Locker
   2009 Feb 22  12.1    36.9     Slumdog Millionaire
   2008 Feb 24  10.7    31.8     No Country for Old Men
   2007 Feb 25  14.1    39.9     The Departed
   2006 Mar  5  13.9    38.6     Crash
   2005 Feb 27  15.1    42.2     Million Dollar Baby
   2004 Feb 29  15.3    43.6     Lord of the Rings:
                                   Return of the King
   *ShowBuzzDaily Forecast

Check back in the morning for the actual Nielsen ratings (as well as a look at how ABC spins the numbers).  And log on after the telecast for Mitch Salem’s take on the announced results, Billy Crystal’s performance as host, and the movie commercials aired in the show. 


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."