As the Oscars hit rock bottom, do anything, anything. Call Bill Maher! – Deadline

At least we know how far the Oscars can go. 10.4 million viewers. Less than 16.8% than the first day of the NFL Draft. Less than 61.3% than Joe Biden’s first speech in Congress, which was 75% lower than Donald Trump’s.

It’s really low. That’s 3.1 percent of the current US population, down four-fifths from 15 percent in 2001, which was not even a record year. (It would be 1998, when Titanic won top honors.)

Is it the lowest? Probably. You could muster 10.4 million viewers from Oscar publicists, extended family, and people who forgot to turn off the TV when they decided to play Parcheesi or finish the ironing.

So, a week after that dismal Oscar presentation, the question becomes: What now?

Bill Maher flies the Oscars – “It was like, we dare you to be entertained”; Call Elon Musk on Bitcoin

Apparently, the leaders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are still bringing their ideas together. The Governing Council is not expected to meet this week, so any corrective action will have to wait. An Academy spokesperson did not comment on the public collapse or a possible political response.

One school of thought says the Oscars were simply caught in the same pandemic tidal wave that rocked all the awards – Emmys, Grammys, Globes, SAG Awards – one after another. But the officers of a flagship cannot be reassured that the rest of the fleet is sinking. Someone has to do something.

In truth, the Oscars could stay afloat at the top of 10 or 15 million viewers for quite a while, if ABC and its parent company Walt Disney Co. continue to honor a contract that guarantees payouts of over $ 100 million. dollars for television rights through 2028. Under the agreement, the second half of this year’s payment is due 60 days after the April 25 airing. That’s six days before the end of June 30 of the Academy’s fiscal year. As a result, the financials could look fairly normal (with the exception of the unusual costs associated with the show and the Union Station room), when they are finally released.

Investors seem to think these payments are secure. In the post-Oscar negotiation, the prices of the Academy’s various bonds – used to fund its cinema museum – have fallen only slightly.

But something bigger than the Academy of Cinema and its finances is at stake. Movies need mass audiences, even if the Oscars, at least until 2028, don’t. A momentary increase in digital sales for Nomadland or The father not enough. Cinema needs excitement and something better than a show that, as Bill Maher just said, “you dared to entertain yourself”.

Maher, on her last show, brought up thoughts that would be way more fun than what we just watched (or not). “Call me,” Maher says.

If I was running the Academy, I would do just that – and ask it to host the next show. It’s better than going down with the boat.

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