Disney's ABC confident Oscar telecast will air

Tue Jan 8, 2008 8:39pm EST
 
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By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC is confident its Academy Awards telecast will air as planned on February 24 despite the Hollywood screenwriters strike and sees no need to offer Oscar advertisers contingencies for lower-than-expected ratings, the network said on Tuesday.

Executives at the Walt Disney Co-owned network denied reports that ABC was reaching out to media buyers to discuss what to do in the event the screenwriters' strike forces changes in the planned three-hour Oscar broadcast.

"(The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) is fully committed to doing the show, and we have not been out there with contingency plans for advertisers," an ABC spokeswoman said.

The Writers Guild of America threatened to picket the annual awards ceremony last month raising the possibility that Hollywood's elite might forego the event in support of striking screenwriters.

The Golden Globe Awards on Monday said they would cancel their own star-studded telecast in the face of an anticipated boycott by presenters and nominees unwilling to cross picket lines.

The usual three-hour-plus Globes ceremony, with winners accepting their awards onstage, will instead be reduced to a one hour press conference this Sunday to be covered live by NBC, a unit of General Electric Co.

Anticipating a ratings decline, NBC on Tuesday was offering cash back to some marketers for the event, which has typically generated roughly $20 million in ad revenue, a person familiar with the arrangements said.

ABC said it does not face a loss of advertising revenues if the Academy Awards are impacted by the strike, now in its 10th week, because of the way the ads are sold.   Continued...

 
<p>Oscar statues await preparation for the 80th Academy Awards at a storage facility in Saugus, California October 10, 2007. ABC is confident its Academy Awards telecast will air as planned on February 24 despite the Hollywood screenwriters strike and sees no need to offer Oscar advertisers contingencies for lower-than-expected ratings, the network said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>