By Alan Pergament
This is what I'm thinking:
While the local ratings for Sunday night's Academy Awards were up 10 percent from a year ago to a 27.2, there was a noticeable dropoff in the final 15 minutes of the program before "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture.
The rating from 11:45 p.m. to midnight on Channel 7 was 24.9, which made it the lowest 15 minutes of the entire 3 and a half hour program. It was 25.3 from 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. when Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett won the big acting awards and that was lower than every 15 minutes except for at the program's start at 8:30 p.m. and at 11:45 p.m.
This confirms my view that the best way to watch the Oscars is to DVR the final hour and watch all the major categories on Monday morning before you go to work so you can join the water cooler talk.
Speaking of water cooler talk, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres got very mixed reviews. Several outlets praised her for being pleasant and for not being Seth MacFarlane, last year's host.
But Hollywood Reporter reviewer Tim Goodman wrote that the beloved host drove the program "sideways into a ditch."
Wrote Goodman: "As a television event, this year's Oscars was more like an endurance test. It was a turgid affair, badly directed, poorly produced and featuring an endless strong of tired or wince-inducing moments by DeGeneres, who, by the last 30 minutes or so minutes, seemed to have given up entirely."
Toronto critic Bill Brioux was even less kind. Wrote Brioux: "David Letterman, your reign of error is over. Ellen DeGeneres is now the worst Oscar host ever. DeGeneres mailed it in Sunday in a performance that could be called minimal. Much of her involvement with the three-and-half hour broadcast looked like a rehearsal."
My review was pretty much in line with the takes of Goodman and Brioux, but I have heard from a plenty of DeGeneres fans who loved her and said she was the same host as she is every day on her talk show.
Of course, this wasn't her daytime show. It was the Oscars. And she needed to do more than order pizza and take selfies.
An astute reader -- OK, it was my brother -- noted that Oscar-winning writer John Ridley and Oscar-winning producer Steve McQueen, both of "12 Years a Slave," didn't mention each other in their speeches. Sure enough, a story emerged from an online publication Monday that they do not like each other and it all started when Ridley declined to give McQueen a writing credit on the script. According to the story, they kept their ugly dispute quiet because they feared it would harm the movie's chances of winning.
Talk about tough reviews. NBC Sports Network studio analyst Mike Milbury ripped former Buffalo Sabre president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and LaFontaine's friend, Sabres Coach Ted Nolan, during an intermission of the cable network coverage Monday of the Sabres loss in Dallas. The ripping should have come with an asterisk. Milbury, who was on the New York Islanders board when LaFontaine was briefly a volunteer advisor, has been ripping LaFontaine since 2012. Milbury has an ax to grind and may have angered LaFontaine supporters, but it isn't as if LaFontaine isn't getting plenty of love elsewhere. When you take a step back, the Sabres have lost a much-loved figure who was great for the team's public relations but who really had hired himself out of a job.
Remember former Channel 2 reporter Steve Keeley? He made NBC's "Today" this morning via a video clip that caught the now Philadelphia TV reporter getting hit by a blizzard of snow from a plow while he was doing a standup. Amazingly, Keeley stayed on his feet and continued reporting. The clip also is a big online sensation.
Finally, "American Idol" is moving from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.on Thursday, March 13 because Fox's 9 p.m. series "Rake" has pretty much bombed. The Greg Kinnear series is moving to 8 p.m. Fridays, where shows go to die.
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