Jon Stewart in Hurried Preparations for Least-Watched Oscar Telecast Ever

Stewart hosting the awards in 2006. Photo: Getty Images

"Okay, we’re mice being chased by a cat. Let’s just do it," Jon Stewart says in today's Times profile of the Oscar telecast's host, who due to the writers' strike only has eight days to prepare. How is he doing? He sounds like his usual overtalking, overthinking self. "The thing I always have to fight," he says, "is I have a tendency to undercut. It’s the comedy of deflation in large amount. That doesn’t necessarily work on the greatest night of [the nominees'] lives. There is a strong tension between respecting these people and somehow deflating them while standing in that room. I like that. I find that tension interesting." Meanwhile, we're all, Please, Jon Stewart, just tell some good jokes and keep things moving.

Luckily, it doesn't matter, because this year's Oscar show will only be watched by entertainment bloggers and the parents of nominees, says Variety.

Well, they don't exactly say that — being Variety, they try to stay a lot more positive — but when even Variety is forced to hedge its bets on the Oscars' popularity, you know things are gonna be brutal. "A ceremony whose top nominees will be No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood is a far cry from the 1998 Oscarcast, when the Titanic phenomenon reeled in more than 55 million TV viewers," Rick Kissell writes. "This time out, the top-grossing best-pic contender is Fox Searchlight's Juno, which has a worldwide cume of $134 million" — fine for an indie but not exactly a blockbuster. The subtext: Don't sweat it, Jon Stewart! Everyone will be playing Guitar Hero anyway.

Jon Stewart, Hands Long Tied by Strike, Pedals Fast for Oscars [NYT]
Will Oscar show grab great ratings? [Variety]