Ratings were the lowest since records began in 1974. Walt Disney’s ABC network will probably owe advertisers millions in free commercial time for failing to provide the audiences that were promised. People just had better things to do than watch a bunch of pompous celebrities congratulate other pompous celebrities. They also have other things to worry about like the faltering economy and the war.
One reason for the poor ratings was the Hollywood writers’ strike. People grew accustomed to doing other things besides watching television which probably is good for society. Many of the nominated films weren’t exactly feel-good escapism. In fact, “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” were really violent and dark. In these troubled times, people want to go to the movies to escape from their problems not be reminded of them.