Franco and Hathaway Bomb: Oscar Ratings Slide 12%

UPDATE: Ceremony has 4 million fewer total U.S. viewers than it did last year

Younger hosts didn't help this year's Oscars hold on to younger viewers, according to preliminary ratings.

Sunday's show scored an 11.7 rating in the ever-desirable 18 to 49 demographic, down 12 percent from last year's 13.3, according to the initial numbers. Total U.S. viewers slipped 10 percent to 37.6 million, and the show lost viewers for the first time since 2008.

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It also slipped slightly among 18 to 34 year olds — the demographic of hosts Franco, 32, and Hathaway, 28.

The pair got panned by most reviewers, including TheWrap's. Steve Pond said Franco "was so casual as to appear as if he'd stepped out of a stoner comedy like 'Pineapple Express.'"

TheWrap's Dominic Patten said the energy "quickly faded into the inertia of a bloated, self-important ceremony."

"Rather than underplaying," wrote The Projector's Tim Greierson, "he seemed like he was hardly there … Franco was lifeless, dragging Hathaway's showmanship down with him." 

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The Oscars enlisted Hathaway and Franco in hopes of drawing a younger crowd, and the pair joked about it in their opening Sunday.

But don't put all the blame for the lower tune-in on their young shoulders: This year's show didn't have a box office juggernaut like last year's "Avatar" to lure in young viewers.