Question: I was surprised to hear that both the Grammys and Oscars suffered some of their lowest ratings ever this year. Initially, I thought viewership would be "normal" considering the lack of new television on the air due to the writers' strike. Do you think the popularity of nominees affects awards-show viewership?
Answer: The lack of popular/populist best-picture nominees seems to have hurt the Oscars a bit, if you listen to some of the officials and analysts who've been quoted. Not so sure what the deal was with the Grammys; I was away when the show aired, but I thought they did a fair job promoting it as a big 50th-anniversary event. My take on all of this is to blame the aftereffects of the strike. TV viewership is depressed pretty much across the board, especially when it comes to entertainment (it didn't hurt the Super Bowl this year), and I can't help wondering if this whole sorry strike spectacle didn't simply sour many people against watching Hollywood come out to play — or sing.