Can The Oscars Stop The Ratings Slide?

The Academy Awards try out a few new tricks to boost ratings

This year's Academy Awards telecast can be grateful for at least one thing: it doesn't have to compete against Desperate Housewives. ABC's sexy soap has already beaten the Grammys, the Golden Globes and the People's Choice Awards in the ratings so far this year. And with the Oscarcast dropping steadily in the ratings over the past few years (to a low of 33 million viewers in 2003, though last year it showed a slight uptick) and a lack of big box-office hits among this year's nominees, the stage seems set for another ratings fizzle.

But the Oscar show is preempting Housewives...

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