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Posted at 5:44 PM ET, 02/28/2011

James Franco and Anne Hathaway don't help Oscar ratings

By Lisa de Moraes

About 37.6 million people watched Sunday's Academy Awards, at which there were no surprises, and fashion faux pas, but which had people all a 'twitter the next day, owing to the epic flame-out of show co-host James Franco.

That's a hefty 4 million fewer viewers than watched last year's Oscarcast. Nearly 41 million people watched last year's orgy of trophy dispensing and back-slapping -- the franchise's biggest audience since 2005.

Last year the Academy Awards telecast was hosted by veteran Steve Martin -- teamed with Alec Baldwin.

This year, the motion picture academy decided to go with co-hosts whose big selling point was their age: Franco and Anne Hathaway. Hathaway worked hard to keep us awake during the show, including a breathtaking number of outfit changes.

Franco phoned it in for three hours and change.

While their overall audience was not everything the academy had hoped for, at least they'd be guaranteed that younger audience -- Hathaway was the trophy show's youngest host ever and Franco isn't much older than she, the academy and ABC bragged when the co-host announcement was made.

According to early Nielsen stats, Sunday's Oscarcast attracted 11.7 percent of the country's 18-49 year-olds. People in that age bracket are the Holy Grail of broadcast TV.

That rating is down 12 percent compared to last year's ratings performance in that age bracket.

By Lisa de Moraes  | February 28, 2011; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  2011 Academy Awards  
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Comments

It's not the hosts' fault. Ratings dropped because the Oscars have become a fashion show and it's just not interesting. They should hire film critics to interview them on the red carpet instead of fashion commentators that are incapable of adjectives other than "amazing".

Posted by: tmitchelnyc | February 28, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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