At the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday, Disney is set to make several new properties part of your world.
Last year’s awards bounced back from a ratings low with an average of 16.6 million total viewers and a 3.8 rating in the key adults 18-49 demo. And the company is looking to build on those ratings this year, with ep and showrunner Ricky Kirshner already praising ABC and Disney’s “synergy and promotion” ahead of the show during an Oscars Creative Team press conference on Wednesday.
For the March 12 event, the company will showcase some of its prime upcoming properties, exposing new audiences to key titles and keeping its creative accessible.
A source familiar with Disney’s Oscars promo plan told Adweek that this year’s approach “matches the prestige and creativity of Hollywood’s biggest night.” The company sees it as “an opportunity to surprise and delight, make news and also showcase our priorities across not only ABC, but also The Walt Disney Company to this large live audience.”
During the Oscars Creative Team press conference, Glenn Weiss, ep and showrunner, noted that the entire show would be a “visually stunning experience.” That seemingly includes the promos, as the company will spotlight its new live-action film The Little Mermaid, debuting May 26, with its first trailer.
With a stacked team behind the film, including Halle Bailey playing Ariel, Lin-Manuel Miranda co-writing new songs and Alan Menken returning as composer, there were rumors Disney would showcase The Little Mermaid during Super Bowl 57. However, the company instead chose to spotlight the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and include a surprise ad celebrating its 100th anniversary during the Big Game.
In Disney’s most recent earnings call, CEO Bob Iger announced a major reorganization, saying the company would lean into proven IP, with new films coming from the Toy Story franchise, Frozen and Zootopia. Given the announcement, highlighting The Little Mermaid remake at the Oscars fits well within the strategy.
The ABCs of promo plans
Regarding ABC Entertainment, the company will focus on new and priority series.
The series highlighted include the police procedural Will Trent, the Milo Ventimiglia-starring show The Company You Keep and Abbott Elementary.
The company also plans to tease American Idol, which airs after the Oscars and every Sunday night.
American Idol received its first post-Oscars time slot with an hour-long episode after the 94th Academy Awards, which wrapped up Season 20’s judge auditions ahead of Hollywood Week. So Disney is returning to what worked and looking to carry those extra Oscars viewers into the legacy unscripted series.
Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live will be supported with “fresh, Oscar-tailored creative,” according to the source. Kimmel is also returning to host the Oscars for the first time since 2018.
Another of Kimmel’s projects, The Prank Panel, a new summer unscripted series that the late-night host executive produces, will also debut new creative. The promo stars Johnny Knoxville, Gabourey Sidibe and Eric Andre and includes “a nod to a movie favorite,” letting viewers in on the hijinks to come in the series.
Say Hulu to Meryl
For Hulu properties, our source notes that “it would not be the Oscars without Meryl Streep,” so audiences will get a first look at her role in Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building.
In the Oscars Creative Team press conference, Kirshner noted that tweets are one of the metrics for success besides ratings, and Streep’s debut should help with that criteria.
News of Streep joining the hit series starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez first broke in January after Gomez posted an announcement on Instagram that has since received more than 3.6 million likes. Though not much is known about Streep’s role, the upcoming look could provide some insight into whether the actor is a guest star or more of a series regular.
Among the other Hulu series, the show will promote Hulu’s History of the World Part II, the follow-up to Mel Brooks’ 1981 classic, History of the World Part I. The new series features events including the Civil War, the building of the pyramids and the Underground Railroad.
Viewers can also expect a look at Tiny Beautiful Things, a show starring Kathryn Hahn that’s based on Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling book. The series premieres on April 7.
For Disney+, the company is rolling out a special look at the upcoming American Born Chinese, which aptly stars Oscar nominees Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu.
To round out the slate of promos, the company will also include new creative from FX, Onyx Collective and ABC News Studios, along with the continued celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary.
Viewers can see it all on March 12, starting at 8 p.m., with a broadcast on ABC and streams going up on Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV and FuboTV.