Despite including appearances by much of the cast from the night's big winner -- "Twilight: New Moon" -- and the much-hyped debuts of trailers for the latest installments of both the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" film franchises, ratings for Sunday's MTV Movie Awards were off from last year.
On the main channel, viewership was off by a lot, dropping from 5.3 million to 4.6 million. However, with the addition of sister station VH1 to the simulcast lineup along with MTV2, total viewership was down only slightly from 5.9 million to 5.8 million. MTV reports that total viewership (i.e., anyone tuning in for a minute or more) totaled 16.4 million.The kudocast faced fierce competition with ABC airing Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Last year's awardscast, hosted by "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg, was notable for the staged meeting between Sacha Baron Cohen's butt and Eminem's face, which prompted a walkout by the latter. Each had a project to promote -- the actor's new movie, "Bruno," and the rapper's latest disc, "Relapse" -- and the resulting controversy spiked interest in them.
This year, Tom Cruise of the upcoming flick "Knight and Day" hoped for a boost by appearing throughout the awards in a running gag reprising his "Tropic Thunder" character Les Grossman. He opened the show, was featured in promos with "Twilight" stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, and did a dance-off with Jennifer Lopez.
Host Aziz Ansari ("Parks and Recreation") presided over a two-hour telecast that featured upward of 100 profanities. While the censor bleeped most of them, some did air, prompting an apology from the cable net on Monday:
The MTV Movie Awards is a live televised event known for irreverent comedy and a party atmosphere where our guests speak more freely than they otherwise might. While we aired the live broadcast with a delay, we were unable to mute every word that some might find objectionable. All of these words will be muted in subsequent airings.
We sincerely apologize to those in our audience who were offended by any objectionable words that might have slipped by for the live airing.
Photo: Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images.