Why Isn't E! Showing The Oscars Red Carpet? This Rule Gives ABC The Upper Hand
If you're like me, you're indulging in hours of Oscars red carpet coverage for Hollywood's biggest night in Los Angeles. But if you were tuning into E! — that entertainment channel famous for its red carpet coverage — you may have noticed that the crew is no longer reporting from the red carpet. And that's because the 2016 Oscars red carpet is exclusive to ABC, due to an agreement with the Academy and the TV network, according to CNN. From 7:30 p.m. ET until 8:30 p.m., ABC is the only channel allowed to be live from the red carpet, says the rule, as part of its hour-long Oscar's Red Carpet Live special.
So that's why, all of a sudden, E! went from red carpet traipsing to a random talk-show panel (which included Kris Jenner) and slideshow of celeb fashion photos. There were occasional interviews off-the-carpet with Patricia Clarkson and Judd Apatow, but it wasn't the same. It got really boring really fast. Meanwhile, ABC got an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio, who might just win his elusive Oscar on Sunday night. It really does give ABC the upper hand, which features interviews in the Dolby Theater and behind the scenes, in addition to the red carpet. This rule really does give ABC the upper hand.
So how did this happen? Well, ABC has been broadcasting the Oscars since 1976, but when the Academy and ABC renewed their deal in 2011, they agreed to this new rule, reported CNN. The deal states that other networks are allowed to broadcast live from the red carpet until an hour before the ceremony. Other networks can keep interviewing on the carpet during this blackout period, but they can't be shown until the ceremony begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.
And it's worked out for ABC — their live red carpet special last year clocked 27.6 million viewers for the 8 to 8:30 p.m. period, according to CNN. That explains a lot, doesn't it? Advantage, ABC.