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Ryan Seacrest's Red Carpet Ratings Tanked, But It's Not Just Because Oscar Ratings Dropped

Ryan Seacrest hosted the red carpet show during the Academy Awards for E! on Sunday, but the star's ratings were shockingly low compared to last year. Academy Award viewership has been down in the last couple of years, but the drop in Seacrest's ratings may have more to do with sexual harassment allegations than with the award show itself.

There is some speculation now about whether his presence will help or hurt the return of 'American Idol'.

Oscar ratings have been slipping in recent years, and most have attributed it to the political divide in the country, and the fact that celebrities can't seem to stop themselves from political rants, finger-wagging and insults during the show. This year, the producers tried very hard to promote the fact that they would be avoiding politics.

While 2018 was certainly tamer when it comes to politics, they didn't entirely succeed in avoiding the hot-button topics altogether.

Despite the efforts, though, the ratings slipped to new all-time lows. Just a few years ago, nearly 44 million people were watching the big Hollywood gala, but this year there were only 26.5 million watching.

It's no surprise that red carpet shows also took a hit, with the Academy Award viewership down another 20 percent since last year, but Seacrest's ratings plummeted a whopping 35 percent. Even more startling, with the target audience, adults 18-49, viewership was down 43 percent. The 0.4 rating, compared to previous years, was dismal.

It’s possible that Seacrest's extremely low ratings weren't only impacted by Oscar boycotts, or loss of interest in the Oscars in general. Variety reported just a week ago that Seacrest had been accused of sexual harassment and assault by Suzie Hardy, his former 'E! News' stylist.

Hardy claims that Seacrest subjected her to harassment and unwanted advances over a period of seven years. She claims the celebrity host groped her private parts, rubbed his erect penis on her when he was wearing only underwear, and slapped her on the buttocks hard enough to leave a welt.

Seacrest has denied all allegations leveled against him repeatedly, but E! chose to stand behind him.

An E! spokesperson told Variety they conducted an 'extremely comprehensive and thorough' investigation of the allegations, and the network is satisfied that there was no legitimacy to the claims. Hardy was painted as a gold-digger.

Since making this announcement, another former employee of 'E! News' claims to have witnessed two incidents of harassment. While E! may be willing to exonerate Seacrest, viewers may not be so forgiving.

With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements in full swing, it's possible that part of Seacrest's terrible ratings were due, at least in part, to the accusations.

It's not all bad news for Seacrest, however. “Live with Kelly and Ryan” held a post-Oscar's show and saw their highest ratings since he joined the show. The show was filmed hours after the Oscars at the Dolby Theater, and fetched a 3.0 rating, and is helping keep Seacrest afloat.

The real test will come on Sunday, when ABC reboots 'American Idol'. Seacrest is slated to host again, just as he did during the original series on Fox. If the show doesn’t perform as expected, it could be very bad news for the popular television personality.

Source: AOL
Photos: Celebrity ABC, Jim Greenhill

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