Feb 27, 2008

Oscars suffer lowest TV ratings

This year's Oscars ceremony has had the ceremony's lowest TV ratings in the US, according to initial figures.

The three-hour ABC broadcast drew an average of 32m viewers - a million less than 2003's figure, set a day after the US-led invasion of Iraq had begun.

Last year's ceremony was watched by an average of 41 million people.

In comparison, talent show American Idol, the most popular US TV series, averages 30 million viewers each week with its Tuesday night broadcast.

Modest hits

The ratings are the lowest since 1974, when the current ratings system first began.

The record low audience comes in a year when the Oscars race for best picture was dominated by films which received critical acclaim, but performed modestly at the box office.

Only one film out of the five best picture nominees - teenage comedy Juno - broke the $100m (£50.9m) barrier.

The night's big winner, violent drama No Country For Old Men, which claimed four awards including best picture, only made a modest $64m (£32.6m) at the North American box office.

The most-watched Oscars broadcast was in 1998 when 55m Americans watched box office blockbuster Titanic win 11 awards.

ABC said in a statement that this year's ratings did not account for an increasing number of homes watching the ceremony on personal video recorders.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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