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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 playby- 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.”

Entertainment-magazine 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 entertainmentfocused access magazines improved. In the week following the Globes, Access’s household ratings jumped 5% to a 2.2 live-plussame- day number compared to the week prior, while CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight’s 4.7 live-plus-sameday 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.”