As if the constant commercials with Seth MacFarlane telling sanitized jokes wasn’t enough, ABC has made sure that almost every show on their network plugs the Oscars. Ok, not every show but enough shows to make you wish that you had forgotten the name Oscar ever existed.
On Wednesday, Feb. 20, ABC had its usual comedy night except every show plugged the Oscars. The night began with suburban Midwestern comedy The Middle where Frankie (Patricia Heaton) decided to throw an Oscar party. Next was, the off-beat alien comedy, The Neighbors whose main character, Larry Bird (Simon Templeman), decides to make a spelling bee documentary in order to win the Best Documentary category at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.
Modern Family was next with Cam (Eric Stonestreet) dressing his daughter up in an elaborate photo shoot paying homage to Oscar greats. Then just when you thought it was safe, Suburgatory waited a whole 14 minutes before name dropping the Oscars. Finally, the night wrapped up with Katie Couric doing her oh-so-cute 20/20 special ‘Mad About Oscar’.
So that’s full night of television reminding you to watch 3 more hours of television on Sunday, Feb. 24. That’s not to mention Good Morning America’s wall-to-wall coverage of everything Oscar, The Chew telling you how to prepare an Oscar feast, The View telling you how to throw an Oscar party and Jimmy Kimmel Live cracking on all the nominees. We get it ABC, you understand cross-promotion very well. Bravo.
There is possibly a rhyme behind their reasoning. Last year the median age range of Oscar viewership was 52.9 which is in stark contrast to the 39.9 viewership that it received 20 years ago meaning that Oscars’ audience is maintaining its viewership as they grow older and failing to attract new viewers. By plugging the Oscars on popular comedy shows, ABC is trying to attract a younger demographic. Modern Family is one of ABC’s biggest hits and they normally draw a median age of 43. It’s a good plan but whether it will work out, remains to be seen.
Oscar night is Sunday night and younger viewers will tune in anyway to see Family Guy creator and star, Seth MacFarlane host for the first time. MacFarlane’s humor rides a fine line between lowbrow and sophisticatedly sarcastic humor and on Family Guy, MacFarlane is known for ribbing celebrities with unexpected and unbelievably hilarious jokes. Now he’ll be in a room with celebrities that he has skewered behind the guise of a raunchy cartoon show and have the opportunity to jab them to their face. That might be all the promotion ABC needs.
One thing is for sure, prepare yourself for a night of ABC plugging their network lineup during the commercial breaks but don’t expect the heavy saturation like CBS did with the Super Bowl and the Grammys where stars from their primetime line up showed up in the crowd or onstage as presenters, followed by new promos for their shows in most of the commercial breaks.
The 85th Annual Academy awards air Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC. The red carpet coverage begins at 7 p.m.
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