James Franco and Anne Hathaway were hosts of the lowly-rated 2011 Oscars Telecast- Ouch!

If you are a producer, developer, planner, organizer, politician, celebrity, news maker, designer, company president etc. etc. – here’s something you always should remember and expect – not everyone is going to like you or your product or project. Therefore, always expect bad reviews along with the good. As long as you continue to put yourself or your brand out there…you will have critics. There’s nothing you can do about it. And if you take them in good stride, these reviews can turn out to be positive experiences.

Case in point…Sunday’s 83rd Academy Awards.


Not only was this event lowly-rated, it was critically panned. And brutally so. Here’s one about host James Franco. And another review from Ken Gruberman of The Huffington Post . Gruberman’s review covers many areas where the show fell short. In fact, it’s is a comprehensive break down of the show’s break downs.

So as a PR professional, should you hide these negative reviews from the show’s producers? My answer is a resounding “No.”

When I have been in this similar position as the head of the PR department for a live awards event broadcast, I have included every review (no matter its tone) into the press clipping package.  Although, I have always included them, however, it doesn’t mean that they continued to remain. My efforts have been overruled numerous times by higher ups, who were nervous that they would receive some form of punishment for producing a show that generated sharp criticisms. Hence, they removed all negative reviews from the press clipping package.*

(*Press departments compile online reports of every press mention of a product, show or executive. These are often called press bundles and they are the first things that are prepared each day.)

This censorship happens more than you can ever imagine. Executives pretend that no one else sees the negative reviews if they don’t include them in the mass email. Yeah right.  Ever heard of Google Alerts…they’ll find them for you.

As of this writing, Google has informed me that there have been over 6,400 posts made about the 2011 Oscars. And unfortunately, the majority of those are brutally honest about co-host James Franco’s lethargic performance and the fact that a Bob Hope hologram was the hit of the evening. I must say it was a dreadful telecast.


The reason for this post is to point out that these reviews can be thought of as focus groups.  If a producer has an open mind, he could use this information to improve upon next year’s broadcast.  I can guarantee you James Franco learned the lesson of a lifetime from these awful reviews and if he ever hosts anything again, he will be much better.

I can guarantee you that ABC and the Oscars will cast someone more experienced to host the event next year.  I bet next year’s show will have more attention to the details – that is if someone in charge reads through the lines of the reviews.


But, that’s the main problem in Hollywood. The industry is used to the practice of only saying good things about people, places and projects.  It’s an epidemic.  Why? They know its because the truth hurts. Bad reviews may sting for a moment, but they can be life-altering and changing events. They cause improvement and growth.

So at the end of the day…bad reviews do indeed end up being good for you.



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