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Entertainment Weekly


Oscars ratings hit a record low

Posted on

UPDATED, 5:11 pm. ET: Hollywood had a lot to say at Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, but unfortunately, not everyone heard the message: it was the least-viewed telecast in the show’s history.

The Academy Awards on ABC averaged a mere 26.5 million viewers, down from last year’s 32 million. It still remains the most-watched award show on TV; the Grammys, in comparison, only averaged 19.8 million on Jan. 28 while the Golden Globes pulled in 19 million on Jan. 7. But Oscar, at least these days, is no where close to its halcyon days when it averaged well over 40 million viewers.

It could have a lot to do with how unfamiliar most Americans are with the winners; the night’s Best Picture victor, The Shape of Water, has only earned $57 million at the box office since its Dec. 1 release. And the night’s Best Actress darling, Frances McDormand, starred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which has only grossed $52 million since its Nov. 10 release. Even I, Tonya — which featured Allison Janney, who won her first Oscar on Sunday — has only grossed $28.9 million.

Then again, at one point does the host shoulder some of the blame? Jimmy Kimmel was an everyman at the 2017 Oscar telecast but this year he became a lot more political on his late night talk show. Was that a turnoff viewers even before they saw him laugh it up with Helen Mirren and the jet ski?

Eh, we digress. Here are the Oscar viewership levels for the last 20 years:

2018, 26.5 million
2017: 32.9 million
2016: 34.4 million
2015: 37.2 million
2014: 43.7 million
2013: 40.3 million
2012: 39.3 million
2011: 37.9 million
2010: 41.7 million
2009: 36.3 million
2008: 32.0 million
2007: 40.1 million
2006: 38.9 million
2005: 42.1 million
2004: 43.5 million
2003: 33.0 million
2002: 41.7 million
2001: 42.9 million
2000: 46.3 million
1999: 45.6 million
1998: 55.2 million