Oscar Revamp Lifts TV Figures

US viewing figures for this year’s freshened-up Oscars show were up four million on the record low of 2008.

The three-and-a-half hour show attracted 36 million viewers to the ABC network in the US, according to national ratings figures.

Organisers hoped Hugh Jackman as host and an increased song and dance element would make the show more watchable.

But figures failed to return to the levels of 1998, when 55 million Americans watched Titanic triumph at the awards.

This is in line with the overall decline in US TV audiences during the last decade.

The Academy Awards ceremony has traditionally been presented by a comedian who pokes fun at the stars in the audience, the film industry and world events.

Hugh Jackman said before this year’s event that it should be “more show, less biz”.

Critical response to the revamped Oscars show was mixed.

The Los Angeles Times asked: “How did such a lacklustre show get any kind of ratings bounce at all?”

The New York Times, however, thought it was pacier than previous years and “Hugh Jackman was a shrewd, even thrifty choice for a recession-era Oscar night — the hosting equivalent of a value meal.” — BBCOnline.