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After record-low ratings for the Oscars, how can the Academy make the broadcast appeal to a wider audience?

TV crews rehearse and get ready on the red carpet a few hours before the
TV crews rehearse and get ready on the red carpet a few hours before the "Oscars", the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California.

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This year’s Oscars broadcast saw its worst viewership in the history of the show, sending many in the industry scrambling to pinpoint a cause for the drop.

But what if it’s not that simple?  

With a nearly 20% decline from last year’s numbers, the Nielsen results for 2018 Oscar viewers capped out at 26.5 million. But ratings for many major television events – not just the Academy Awards – have been steadily declining for years, so this isn’t necessarily an isolated incident. Causes for the downward trend have been attributed to streaming, increased options for content and a resistance to live, commercial-riddled events.

Reasons aside, this year’s viewership sparked new concerns regarding what The Academy needs to do to keep a pulse going.

What do you think needs to be done in order to make the Oscars more appealing to a wider audience? Call 866.893.5722.


Robert Thompson, professor of television, radio and film and founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Pop Culture at Syracuse University

Joe Concha, media reporter and columnist for The Hill; he tweets @JoeConchaTV