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Oscars' telecast gets big ratings bump

From left, "Argo" producers Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck

(Credit: AP)

Sorry haters: Seth MacFarlane was a hit. If ratings are any indication, and sometimes they actually are, America loved the Oscars.

ABC has yet to formally announce, but early indications via the other networks suggest that the big show last night from 8 to 11, which would include some red carpet stuff, grew by 19 percent (among young adults) over the '12 awards hosted by Billy Crystal. 

 [In fact, ABC has just released formal figures and they're very good -total viewership is 40.3 million, which is up 3 percent over last year, but huge spikes in  male viewers - specifically young guys, who arrived in big numbers - the show's ratings for this demographic group was up 34 percent over last year.] 

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Due in part to Seth MacFarlane -- whose shtick was relentlessly bad, except when he sang, and then it was horrible (Boobs song? Oh, fer chrissakes ... but he does have a great voice!) I would say: Yes. The curiosity factor had to be sky-high, especially among people who know what the score is with him.

But don't overlook the fact that there were some hugely popular films in the running for best picture, notably "Skyfall," and "Argo." Fans tune in to see their horse win, and the more fans of the film, the higher the telecast number. 

Lindsay Lohan to guest star on 'Anger Management'

Lionsgate announced actress Lindsay Lohan will guest start

(Credit: Getty Images)

Sick of Oscar news? Well then, bite into this!

Lindsay Lohan is joining "Anger Management" for one night only to play herself. In other words, she's working off the debt owed Charlie Sheen.  

Lionsgate announced and herewith the details. And, no, Lionsgate has nothing to do with "Scary Movie 5," best I can tell.

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In the episode slated to air this April, Lohan develops a romantic relationship with Sheen’s character after becoming his therapy patient. Currently in production on a 90-episode back order, "Anger Management" airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. e/p on FX. Sheen and Lohan most recently worked together in the upcoming "Scary Movie 5," also set to debut in April.

Oscars 2013: The TV highs, the TV lows

So what will we remember from this year's telecast of the 2013 Oscars, when all the tweets, posts, news stories, and various other appurtenances of insta-chattering-class gratification clear away, leaving us only with our cherished, or not so-cherished, memories? (We saw the boobs! And one of 'em was the host! Ba dum.)

I'll tell you what! Seth and Lincoln! But also Seth and dancing. And Jennifer...

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Jimmy Kimmel's 'Movie: The Movie 2V'

And here it is - the movie franchise that will never earn an Oscar, or an Emmy either, for that  matter: Jimmy Kimmel's "Movie: The Movie 2V!" In its entirety, I think...


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Oscars: A (sort of) live blog


(Credit: ABC Bob D'Amico)

9:07... We have a verdict in already on Seth MacFarlane - and the verdict is not favorable. But unfavorable in a way I never fully expected! I knew he'd be tacky (the Boobs Song), and inside-the-business topical (a nod to Affleck's director diss) and even referential to the Golden Globes, of all awards ("the quest is to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh...") But to turn this into a retro - really retro - '60s ersatz "Star Trek" Oh Look How Silly James T. Kirk looks NOW! joke? In the lead-up to this,  MacFarlane promised  to turn this chalky, dusty, calcified, sclerotic awards show into something both current but also an embrace of what had come before -  an inversion, or balancing act, by a TV guy who has made a lucrative career from mostly potty-mouth animated series (and now, the same with a movie, "Ted.")  But the "Star Trek" gambit - while clearly a sly homage to one of the biggest movies of the year to come, "Star Trek Into Darkness" - felt just as moldy and weary as what he had promised to banish.  Then, just to demonstrate how reverential he is for the past, there were performances of standards from Jimmy Van Heusen or whomever else he's worshiped at the alter of. This pretzel act would have been funny or memorable if it had been funny or memorable, but it was not - just tiresome, and discordant, and foolish. (But still memorable.) What's worse is you - OK, I - expected better from MacFarlane. That's the open. Three hours to go. Let's see where it goes from here...

 9:22... Finally, the 50 Years of Bond arrives. And what do we get? Dame Shirley Bassey turns up to sing "Goldfinger" and kills it, but the clip job was an embarrassment. Fifty years of Bond and we get a YouTube compilation? Huge disappointment only because in my admittedly depleted imagination I expected Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, of all people, to love with all their Broadway might the grand and glorious spectacle of Bond. Instead ... blah.

9:40... The man "Who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth." And there, in one line, MacFarlane ended any chance of returning to the Oscars, even as a guest, or as a waiter, or someone who rolls out the red carpet, or a parking attendant...

9:54... In a way, this is kind of the best part of the night so far. Why? Beats me! Why a tribute to "All That Jazz," Bob Fosse's glorious tribute to himself, or "Dreamgirls," as channeled by J-Hud? Then Hugh Jackman, "Les Miz..." Because this is clearly what Craig Zadan and Neil Meron do best - Broadway spectacle!  Or at least what they care about most. This was - on second thought - the best part of a tepid night (so far.) And miles to go before we sleep.

10:10... Universal, I read somewhere, actually paid to get that appearance of Ted - voiced by MacFarlane. (But why?) Fact is, this fell flat, too - mostly because I would bet not ten people in that audience saw "Ted," knew what the gag was, or who voiced the bear (MacFarlane.) Ted was somewhat in character: Where's the orgy? Mark Wahlberg (John, in the movie): At Nicholson's house... Some jokes about being Jewish in Hollywood, which are supposed to be envelope pushing, but were not (hey, it's a bear)... Although could certainly be construed as anti-Semitic. (Mac scores again!) And all this for a sound-mixing award. Hey, the biggest drama? It was a tie!

10:35... Adele. Certainly the Golden Girl tonight, in this sumptuous production number, anticipating what is expected to be her win/coronation for Best Original Song.  (And won't the Twittersphere be shocked if Seth MacFarlane wins for "Ted?!" That's right - he's up for a best song award, too.)

11:02...The Way We Were.  Well, that was worth waiting up for. Barbra Streisand hasn't been here, or sung at these, in more than thirty years, or before I was born. (A little joke, with your forbearance.) Barbra Streisand is Barbra Streisand, and that is that, and Marvin Hamlisch was Marvin Hamlisch. A winning combination, in life and death...

11:36... By this point, everyone's had it on the East Coast; in LA, it's still only 8:30! But Ang Lee and Quentin Tarantino made it go down just a little bit easier. Both were pretty funny and fluent. Ang Lee thanking his lawyer and agent - "I have to do that" - and Tarantino peacing out... Daniel Day-Lewis: "I don't know how any of this happened..." And funny thing, he says to presenter Meryl Streep, three years ago, "I was committed to playing Margaret Thatcher..."

12:11... ABC announces that the full telecast will be available Monday morning on Hulu, Hulu Plus and ABC on Demand. (Ummm, no thanks. Once is enough.)

Meet your Oscars guide: Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane. Go ahead — say the name again . . . ("Seth MacFarlane") . . . and again and again . . . for come Monday morning, he will either be the most talked about person in the country, or the most forgotten one.

Hosting the Oscars can be brutal or glorious — but it is not for the fainthearted. So, let's take a look at this intriguing fellow, shall we? Here's my profile in...

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'20/20's' Robin Roberts special: Fast clip

OK, it's a few hours until tonight's big interview with Robin Roberts on "20/20" (WABC/7, 10), and here's a quick preview. What's notable - and to a certain degree chilling - here is Roberts' bluntly pragmatic response to Diane Sawyer's  question about whether she is fully cured or not. Her answer: She is as of right now, today... Tonight, by the way, is a deeper look at her long ordeal, but also a deeper look at how other people suffering from MDS might take solace (and counsel)  from her remarkable example...

Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman named Oscar presenters

A couple more good reasons to tune in Sunday night to the Oscars: Jack Nicholson and Dustin  Hoffman were just named presenters. Nicholson of course has presented before, though his presence on this stage always tends to consecrate the Oscars as something truly notable and special. His appearance for his last win, "As Good as It Gets," as an example. Here was his acceptance speech from back then (2008), and it's hard to imagine a cooler or more gracious way to say "thanks:" And after that, Hoffman's cri de cour acceptance for "Kramer vs. Kramer":

'Parks and Recreation:' Ben, Leslie get hitched

Well, this almost looks official - maybe, though not entirely certain: The nuptials of Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope on last night's "Parks and Rrecreation." The big two minutes, if you missed:


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Jimmy Kimmel's 'Movie: The Movie' sequel

Nothing like a late night TV tradition, even one only about 11 months old, but it's still a good one: Jimmy Kimmel's "Movie: The Movie," which will be released in prequel after this Sunday's Oscar telecast.

Kimmel and ABC are now shopping the trailer — and it looks sick, as in good sick. Here it is . . . Oh, what is "Movie: The Movie?" An Oscar spoof starring nominees, It is (not) their finest role. I've posted last year's here too.

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