By Joey Nolfi
August 31, 2016 at 01:01 PM EDT
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Wednesday the expansion of their pre-existing broadcasting agreement by eight years, extending the network’s rights to broadcast the Oscars ceremony through 2028. The original contract was set to expire in 2020.

“We’re honored to continue our storied and successful partnership with ABC in broadcasting the most watched live entertainment event of the year,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was re-elected to a fourth term as Academy President earlier in August, said of the deal via press release. “In 2028, we’ll mark the Oscars’ 100th anniversary, and ABC is the perfect partner to help us celebrate the magic of movies with our fans. On behalf of the Academy, I thank Jim Gianopulos, our Academy Treasurer and chair of the Board’s Finance Committee, and Disney/ABC’s Ben Sherwood, for leading these efforts.”

The network has broadcast the Oscars more than 50 times throughout the Academy’s 89-year history. This year’s ceremony, which was dogged by controversy over its all-white slate of nominees and included a lineup of non-blockbuster films, saw the Chris Rock-hosted telecast drop to an eight-year low, averaging 34.5 million total viewers and a 10.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

When Midnight Cowboy won Best Picture in 1970, ABC notched its highest household share (43.4 percent) for an Oscars telecast; however, the 1998 Oscars ceremony, which saw Titanic win Best Picture, notched the largest number of viewers for an Academy Awards telecast in history, with 55.3 million people tuning in.

The 89th Academy Awards ceremony will be televised via ABC on Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It will also be televised live in 225 countries around the world.

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