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Syndie Newsmags A-Twitter About Oscars

For TV's syndicated access
magazines, awards-show coverage has become a flurry of tweeting and twittering,
with anchors, reporters and producers interviewing celebs on the red carpet,
filing quick updates from backstage and posting photos and blogs live from the scene.

"It's the ultimate chance
for our fans to get close to the stars," says Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, Extra's
senior executive producer. "We don't do the cursory job of announcing the hits,
runs and errors; we're the sideshow. We're tweeting the live play-by-play at
these events." And just in time for the Academy Awards, Extra is
launching a redesign of its Website.

All of the hosts and
correspondents on NBC Universal's Access Hollywood are active in the
social-media universe. The show has its own online audience polling site, AH
Nation, where viewers can respond to questions. Those responses are
incorporated into the show's content.

"[Host] Billy [Bush] is
very aggressive with the online stuff," says Adam Jordan, Access's
supervising producer. "He's tweeting and sending photos and Facebooking. He's
very much in touch with what goes on."

awards coverage used to be limited to one televised half-hour that aired on the
Monday night after any given ceremony. With the success of Twitter and
Facebook, online coverage now starts online at about noon on Sunday and
continues through Monday night.

"It's a 24-hour wild
process," Jordan
says. "We have producers working all night."

At a time when the ratings
of nearly everything on TV are dropping, events such as the Oscars, Golden
Globes, Emmys and Grammys are giving syndicated magazines a welcome boost.

After this year's Golden
Globes on Jan. 17, the ratings of most of the entertainment-focused access
magazines improved. In the week following the Globes, Access's household
ratings jumped 5% to a 2.2 live-plus-same-day number compared to the week
prior, while CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight's 4.7
live-plus-same-day increased by 4%. Warner Bros.' Extra added 12%, while
CTD's Inside Edition, whose purview is broader than entertainment,
improved by 6%.

Following last year's
Oscars, only two shows saw weekly gains. Access gained 5%, while ET
improved by 2%; the other magazines were either flat or down for the week.

Even if a show's national
weekly ratings don't increase, awards shows also tend to help the magazines in
important local markets. After last year's Oscars, Extra's household
ratings improved by 54% in New York and 47% in
Los Angeles,
even though the show's overall ratings declined by 6% for the week.

Says Jordan: "We
find that the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Grammys seem to bump ratings
the most for us. We usually see a 20%-25% jump the following Monday."