Friday, January 14, 2011

Analysis: Expanded Red Carpet show

Along with naming producers for the Red Carpet pre-show, Academy Awards telecast producers announced Tuesday that the show would be extended to 90 minutes.

In the past, those interested in more live Red Carpet coverage tuned in to other networks like E! and, within the last few years, TV Guide Network.

For some, what a star wore on the big night holds more credence than who won what. And it appears the Academy has been listening.

During the last three decades, however, Barbara Walters' famous interview special preceded the 30-minute arrivals show and started at 7 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone; the special followed the Oscars in the Western Time Zone. On March 7, 2010, Walters announced she would no longer have a special.

"… I feel like I've 'been there, done that,'" Walters said on ABC's "The View," the daytime talk show she executive produces. "This special has been a labor of love for 29 years. …"

With a vacancy in the time slot, it seems like an easy decision to extend the popular show from Oscar's Red Carpet.

"We’re excited to be working on the pre-show, and it’s great that it's been extended to 90 minutes,” Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare, newly announced executive producers of the arrivals show, were quoted in an Academy press release. "In addition to having more time to talk to the biggest movie stars in the world, we'll be able to take the viewers behind the scenes before the biggest event in entertainment!"

This will be the pair’s first time producing the red carpet show — named “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live.” It starts at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) on ABC. The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET).

Telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer will also serve as executive producers for “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live.” Their jobs were announced last June. Haykel and Hare are also serving as consulting producers for the 83rd Academy Awards telecast.

The Competition
With the official Red Carpet show on ABC being extended an hour, there will be at least two other networks — E! and TV Guide Network — that have coverage on at the same time.

Per the Academy's electronic news coverage agreement: "No guest arrival audio tape or video footage, whether live or previously taped by any organization, may be broadcast on television or the Internet, during the Academy Awards pre-ceremony segment…" with the exception of radio outlets.

The agreement, accepted by applying media in November, does not acknowledge the 90-minute show so The Gold Knight asked the Academy if this would affect live broadcast coverage of the other networks. The response: "No, their coverage time will remain the same. They still have an embargo period from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in which they cannot broadcast."

James' take
The extension of the arrivals show should be a breath of fresh air for the, as of late, vapid pre-show. With dozens of celebrities to interview and only about 20 minutes or so of broadcast time, the show has recently seemed rushed and uninspired. And here's a little insight: most of the interviews with the stars are taped because of time constraints. With the ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m. PT, stars cannot afford to loiter on the Red Carpet past 5:20 p.m.

The extra 60 minutes will give producers time to lengthen the interviews and give the audience a better look into the nominations and possibly feature behind-the-scenes preparations.

In short, this is a great idea. Now, the producers need to find some good interviewers. Hey, Barbara Walters is available …

James A. Molnar is editor of The Gold Knight blog.

Sarah's take
That's right: an extra hour of coverage! This news has got me even more pumped up for this year’s Oscars.

An awards ceremony has many different facets that make it special. For example, where it is, what it is all about, who is going to be there and last, but definitely not least, what are they wearing? Fashion is a big part of our culture. We are a visual society that has an opinion on what we see. As we all know, the Oscars is not a typical awards show; it is over the top in the best way possible. I think extending the Red Carpet coverage will accent the show like the perfect pair of shoes to a gorgeous outfit. It just makes sense.

Of course, as your fashionista, I am going to want more coverage on fashion, but I honestly think it’s a good thing overall for the Academy to do. Worst case scenario: you don’t care that much about fashion. You don’t have to watch the whole coverage. I personally think you may be ridiculous, but it’s your opinion verses mine.

All in all, added coverage is a great thing. More time to enjoy this splendid event that only comes once a year.

Sarah C. Lowendick is The Gold Knight blog's fashionista.
Look for her fashion commentary throughout the awards season. 
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  1. Nice analysis, although I am partial. Will I see either of you on the Red Carpet?

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    Sarah will be at her fashion HQ in Chicago and James will be near the Red Carpet in Hollywood (trying to get in).


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