ABC and Disney executives pushed hard for big Oscar changes: You are facing irrelevance!
For years, Disney and ABC executives have pressured the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make changes to the ceremony that would make it shorter and, thus, more watchable for viewers at home. And for years, the Academy refused. But then, according to Variety's Daniel Holloway, "ratings fell off a cliff" for this year's Jimmy Kimmel-hosted ceremony, the lowest-rated ever. Days later, a "come-to-Jesus meeting" was held with the Film Academy, where "the TV people walked through the lousy ratings at a granular level, identifying precise moments during the show that prompted viewers to stop watching," according to Holloway. "They made several recommendations about the ways that the telecast’s length could be reigned in, and proposed a 'best blockbuster' category that would reward films that had been seen by larger audiences. They also argued that viewers had become fatigued by the ever-increasing number of televised awards shows — including the Golden Globe Awards, whose viewership has been relatively stable in recent years — and that the Oscars should be moved to an early calendar period." Holloway reports that ABC and Disney executives are relieved following today's announcement, and they are unmoved by the social media backlash. As Holloway points out, ABC is the only one of the Big Four networks that doesn't broadcast the Super Bowl. So having a hit Oscar telecast is of the utmost importance.
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