Survey: Neil Patrick Harris Outranked by Ellen DeGeneres as Oscar Host

Survey: Neil Patrick Harris Outranked Ellen

Neil Patrick Harris has some big shoes to fill for his upcoming 2015 Oscar hosting gig, as a recent online poll finds he is generating less fan excitement than Ellen DeGeneres did when she announced last year.

In comparing surveys done at the time of each of their official announcements, 31% of respondents said that DeGeneres as host meant that they were very likely to watch the Oscars that year; versus 3% who said they are very likely to tune into the 2015 awards show because of Harris as host.

Also from the surveys, both with a sample size of 3,000 and conducted by celebrity brand strategist Jeetendr Sehdev, 23% of respondents believed that DeGeneres was the best choice at the time to host; versus 6% that think the same for Harris. A number of people remain on the fence – as 56% and 19% answered “Maybe” for DeGeneres and Harris as best choice, respectively.

Although Harris might be at an initial disadvantage with audiences relative to DeGeneres, Sehdev believes that he can still succeed in his Oscar role.

“The Oscars are on a viewership upswing, so Neil Patrick Harris will likely ride the wave,” said Sehdev.

The online survey questionnaires asked people to assign a 1 to 10 rating to various questions, where a 1-3 answer translated to a “not likely” or “no” response; 4-6 meant “indifferent” or “maybe”; and 8-10 meant “very likely” or “yes.” Any 7 answer was thrown out.

Also for this year’s survey, people were asked to compare Harris with past hosts Steve Martin, Chris Rock and DeGeneres; plus a rumored wanted host who passed, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. People were asked to rank each on a scale of 1 (most want to host) to 5 (least want to host), with scores translated to a 100-point index. DeGeneres is most coveted by far with an 87 score; runners-up in descending order, are Rock, Louis-Dreyfus, Martin and Harris.

The following are responses to the survey:

How do you feel about Neil Patrick Harris/Ellen DeGeneres hosting the Oscars? (A rating scale of 1-10. 1=Don’t care and 10=Care a lot). 

Neil Patrick Harris:

Care a lot: 7%

Indifferent: 78%

Don’t care: 15%


Care a lot: 41%

Indifferent: 35%

Don’t care: 24%

(Note: Ellen’s ‘Don’t care’ number is higher that Neil Patrick Harris’s number (24% vs. 15%). However, Ellen’s brand is more polarizing and this ultimately makes for much stronger influence.)

Do you think Neil Patrick Harris/Ellen DeGeneres is the best host for the Oscars? (Options: Yes, No, Maybe)

Neil Patrick Harris:

Yes: 6%

No: 75%

Maybe: 19%


Yes:  23%

No: 21%

Maybe: 56%

How likely are you to watch the Oscars because Neil Patrick Harris/Ellen DeGeneres is hosting? (A rating scale of 1-10. 1=Not likely and 10=Very likely).

Neil Patrick Harris:

Very likely: 3%

Indifferent: 72%

Not likely: 25%


Very likely: 31%
Indifferent: 41%
Not likely: 28%

Rank from 1-5 the person you would most like to host the Oscars in 2015

(Options specific to Neil Patrick Harris: Ellen Degeneres, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Rock, Steve Martin 1=most 5=least). (done on a scale of 100)

1. Ellen Degeneres (87)

2. Chris Rock (43)

3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (36)

4. Steve Martin (27)

5. Neil Patrick Harris (3)

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  1. MRG82 says:

    Do you think it’s because he’s gay? A lot of people are still more uncomfortable watching a gay men versus a gay woman. That’s why a lot of actors stay in the closet.

  2. Sarah says:

    Fascinating stuff. Makes a lot of sense. Intent to purchase is always important to examine PRIOR to doing anything marketing related. I bet the Academy didn’t know this, otherwise they probably would’ve gone a different route.

  3. James M. says:

    The survey is misguided and unfair. Millions of people (read: women & gay men) watch Ellen every single day on her syndicated television show, so of course she had massive built-in demand to watch her on the Oscars.

  4. Harry says:

    This is disastrous news for the Oscar producers. Terrible pick, obviously.

  5. Jacques Strappe says:

    It’s called over exposure. DeGeneres is a very funny comedian. Harris is an actor who has done a sitcom. Ellen would have been a better choice.

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