Who would have thought watching James Franco co-host the 83rd Annual Oscars would feel like 127 Hours? But it did. He was paired with Anne Hathaway in hopes of bringing in younger viewers.
I'm told that happened to some degree... though the overall audience for the telecast on ABC was down 9.8 percent, according to early returns.
We all know the show goes on way too long. Given. We all know most people not in the industry could care less about most of the awards given out. Given. But that is why the host -- or hosts -- are so damn important. Keep it moving. Keep it witty. Keep it exciting.
Hathaway was certainly more -- shall we say, animated? -- than Franco. But even she needed someone to play off of who didn't seem throughout the evening to want to be someplace else.
You know you are in trouble when a special effects clip of Bob Hope hosting the 1953 Awards show drew more laughs and had more energy than the contemporary hosts.
Maybe the solution next year is to have an all-dead former host program -- you know, bring back Hope and Johnny Carson through the magic of special effects and have the dead pump some life into the program?
Better yet, how about selecting a host or hosts who appeal to younger viewers but who also have a pulse? (Again, referring to Franco and not Hathaway, who seemed to have stepped right out of a Disney film.)
With that in mind, let me suggest the following pair for next year: How about English comedian Russell Brand and American TV host and author Chelsea Handler?
Yes, I know, it would be risky. God knows what the two of them would say. But it would be interesting and unexpected and exciting and different and edgy and cutting and... oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. I'm talking about the Academy Awards!
Charles Feldman is a journalist , media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in L.A. since 1995 and is a regular contributor of investigative reports to KNX1070 Newsradio. He sees lots and lots of movies!
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