. . . claiming that "a billion" people were going to be watching the Oscar telecast? It came up a number of times on Sunday night, and I've seen (offhand) references to it in a number of articles. My guess is, it's not even close to that. The Nielsen numbers -- grotesquely inaccurate, I suspect, but for some reason I don't understand still the best we have -- in the U.S. showed about 38 million viewers, peak -- not too shabby, to be sure, about 1 in 7 or 8 or so Americans. A billion people worldwide is about the same percentage, 1 in 7; but the idea that the Oscar telecast was as heavily watched everywhere else in the world, on average, as it was in the U.S. strikes me as preposterous -- even without the time zone problems . . . I know that there was some extra interest this year in other countries -- in China, for instance, the Oscar awarded to "The Blood of Yingzhou District," a wonderful short documentary about AIDS in rural China, was front page news, and I'm sure that more people than usual in Mexico were tuning in as well. But I'd be amazed if the actual number worldwide were above 250 million -- though if any readers have access to more accurate numbers that would prove me wrong, I'd be interested to see them.
Where do They Get Off . . .