Scared to death the Oscars could go the way of the bashing the Grammys, the Golden Globes, and now, the Winter Olympics, have been getting from big network shows, such as Fox's "American Idol" and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives," the Oscar broadcast is turning up the juice with a full-fledged billboard campaign, a radio ad campaign, and, of course, a balls-to-the-wall ABC on-air TV promo campaign.
Here's the good news: The Oscars are running on a Sunday night, on ABC. That means none of ABC's top-gun shows--"Grey's" or "Housewives"--will get in the way. Don't worry about that other network bulldozer, "American Idol," which flattened first the Grammys, and more recently, NBC's Winter Olympics. Fox may be running it a couple of times during the week--and adding a new limited Thursday run--but Fox will rest "Idol" on Oscar night.
The Academy's plans have been, in fact, a longer-term project--at least a year in the making. Though there has been growing concern for years over limited release, boutique-type movies, like "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash" receiving too many honors--movies which, in theory, translate into smaller ratings--the impetus actually comes from other arenas. Oscar's marketing push is a reaction to an increasing plethora of entertainment options, as well as other theatrical award shows that air before it.
Just like with most theatrical films, the Oscars is building its marketing campaign a few weeks before it opens--culminating with a rush of advertising and marketing materials the week before the event.
Daily Variety, the voice of Hollywood, offers a calming tone: "In the laws of the Hollywood jungle, it's OK to counterprogram, but you don't pull out your big guns against Oscar."
Oh yeah. Tell this to NBC with its Olympics broadcast and CBS with the Grammys--other seemingly lionesqe animals in the Hollywood jungle that heretofore have gone unprovoked. Both have been surprisingly hunted down.
So the all-powerful Academy shouldn't get too cocky and let its guard down. Otherwise, it's good night and good luck.