Nielsen: Oscars Viewership Down 16%

An estimated 36.6 million people watched the Academy Awards telecast on ABC, a drop of 16 percent from 2014.

The Nielsen company said Monday that the Oscars viewership was its lowest since 2009, when “Slumdog Millionaire” was named best picture and 36.3 million people watched.

Last year’s Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, reached 43.7 million and had the biggest audience for the annual awards show since 2000.

This year’s show, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, featured a number of movies that were not big box-office winners and faced controversy over lack of ethnic diversity among its nominees. (AP)

‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Bash Watched by 23 Million Viewers

The Nielsen ratings company says NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary bash has drummed up a huge audience. Preliminary figures indicate Sunday’s retrospective special was seen by 23.1 million viewers.

That makes it NBC’s most-watched prime-time entertainment special since May 2004, when the network aired a “Friends” clips show the night of its series finale.

It’s NBC’s most-watched prime-time entertainment broadcast overall, excluding post-Super Bowl programs, since May 2004, for an episode of “ER” the night of the “Frasier” series finale.

The 3 1/2-hour special looked back on the comedy series’ four-decade run and featured more than 80 guest stars.

Nielsen says the preceding one-hour red carpet special was seen by 11.1 million viewers. (AP)

Live From Tribeca: ‘SNL’ Documentary to Open Festival

The 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival will kick off with a documentary on another New York institution: “Saturday Night Live.”

The festival announced Thursday that “Live From New York!” will be its opening-night film. Directed by Bao Nguyen, the documentary focuses on the show’s early years and was made with Lorne Michaels’ cooperation.

Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal called it “the story of a creative journey from pilot to institution.”

The film adds to an already robust celebration of “SNL,” which is airing a 40th-anniversary special Sunday.

“Live From New York!” isn’t the first documentary on “SNL” to debut at Tribeca. In 2010, James Franco premiered his “Saturday Night,” which depicted a week in the life of the show.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival runs April 15-26.   (AP)

‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ Sweeps Sundance Awards

Sundance breakout “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” about a pair of high school filmmakers who befriend a girl with cancer, won both the U.S. dramatic audience award and the grand jury prize at the 31st Sundance Film Festival awards, announced Saturday.

Thomas Mann, R.J. Cyler, and Olivia Cooke lead the cast of the idiosyncratic tearjerker from Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who dedicated the award to all the filmmakers and artists in his hometown of Laredo, Texas. Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon also star.

“The Wolfpack,” Crystal Moselle’s documentary about six movie-loving teenage boys isolated from society won the grand jury prize for best documentary.

Comedian Tig Notaro, whose film “Tig” premiered at the Festival, hosted the ceremony.

The 31st Sundance Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday.  (AP)