According to a new report, ABC is offering financial guarantees to commercial advertisers for this weekend’s Oscars due to the shows persistently low ratings in recent years.
The Oscars, a staple of the Hollywood elite, has seen consistently declining ratings. Last year, ratings for the award show hit a record all-time low. This is now reportedly pushing ABC to offer “guarantees” to advertisers, a kind of agreement that may necessitate partial refunds to advertisers if ratings fall below a certain number.
Even before the host and category chaos that have hobbled the ceremony in recent weeks, the Disney-owned network found itself forced to guarantee a ratings threshold to keep the deepest-pocketed buyers happy.
“The Oscars are still a very big deal, but people aren’t stupid, and year after year of declining ratings are getting us to a danger zone,” an insider told Deadline of the need for the guarantees after several years of record-low demo and viewership results for the Academy Awards.
“We are right on the edge of that danger zone — not close, but on it — and that makes advertisers very nervous,” the source added, noting it was long-term advertisers such as car companies, beer companies and consumer technology companies that got the threshold guarantees and the make-goods baked in if necessary.
In a statement to Deadline, ABC denied that there were guarantee agreements in place, saying, “The Oscars is one of the most highly sought-out live events in the industry. Historically, we have never guaranteed Oscars, and this year is no different.”
There is no doubt about the declining ratings of the Oscars, as well as other award shows. The jokes are routinely politicized and since President Donald Trump’s election, they have served as events for endless celebrity Trump-bashing.
As Breitbart News’ John Nolte wrote after 2018’s ceremony:
Bringing Jimmy Kimmel back for another round as host was also a big mistake. Kimmel is one of the most divisive and polarizing figures in the country, a Trump-hating Democrat who regularly lectures the rest of us about embracing socialized medicine and giving up our guns.
With Kimmel as host, the Academy basically told 50 percent of the country to go watch something else.
The president himself even ripped the 2018 Oscars, saying, “Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!”
Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2018
This year’s Academy Awards were soiled with controversy months in advance, with comedian Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the event after years-old gay jokes were discovered by online social justice activists.
Sunday’s telecast will now be without any host at all.