More than a few TV and film actors have been concerned and angry about the lack of diversity in actor nominations for the Oscars, including film director Spike Lee, and actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. All 20 acting nominees are white.
Rev. Al Sharpton has already called for a TV viewer boycott of the event.
But the main question -- at least for TV advertisers -- is, what should one expect from this big, glitzy TV event this year? How does one plan -- or not -- for controversy?
Many would guess some viewers will indeed not tune in, with others suggesting that Chris Rock -- who is black, and hosting the event -- will be more of a draw. There will be anticipation of content delivered -- serious, comic and otherwise -- that will strongly comment about what has gone on.
For his part, Lee has followed up with his original tweet, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “I never used the word ‘boycott.’” Lee says he already had plans to see a New York Knicks basketball game in New York on that night.
TV advertiser are always leery about content and how it reflects on them. Many will do anything to avoid negative publicly. Still, according to current reports, don’t expect any advertisers to abandon the show, which will air on February 28.
The Academy Awards is regularly the second biggest non-sports TV show of the year, the so-called “Super Bowl for women.” Last year, it earned a Nielsen 36.6 million viewers, down 16% from the 43.7 million in 2014.
Others executives argue if the Oscars gets, say, a bigger Nielsen rating than a year ago, it doesn’t mean TV viewers approve the status quo concerning acting nominations.
While many analysts have pointed to the problem of an aging, heavily white Academy membership, others say there are issues to focus on, including better distribution, promotion, and marketing of lesser-known movies and performances to Academy voters.
Should these details be of concern to TV viewers and TV marketers? Perhaps they are too “inside baseball” to clearly comprehend. But Oscar’s on-screen video images will be easy to see.