Oscars Viewership Rises 56% to 15.4 Million After Last Years Historic Low

Oscars viewership rose Sunday when 15.36 million sets of eyeballs tuned into the 94th Academy Awards on ABC. The Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes-hosted show was up 56% from last year’s historic low in audience size, per time-zone-adjusted fast-national numbers from Nielsen, and rose 68% in key demo ratings to a 3.2.

Looking at last year in the same preliminary fast-national metric, the 2021 ceremony drew 9.85 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49.

Final “Live + Same Day” Nielsen data for the 94th Academy Awards, which will show out-of-home viewing and live streaming, will be available Tuesday. Early fast-affiliate Nielsen numbers for Sunday’s Oscars reported by some outlets Monday are not time-zone adjusted and do not factor in West Coast viewing of the awards show.

Sunday’s Oscars began with Beyonce’s remote performance of “King Richard” track “Be Alive” from a tennis court in Compton and ended with Apple TV Plus’ “CODA” winning best picture. In between, the show took an unexpected turn when presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, and best actor nominee (and now winner) Will Smith went onstage and slapped Rock in the face.

The 2021 mid-pandemic, host-less Oscars ceremony drew a record low 10.5 million viewers and a 2.2 rating among the key adults 18-49 demographic on Sunday, April 25, according to finalized Live + Same Day data. The year before that, the 2020 emcee-less telecast — which aired on Feb. 9, a more typical date for the awards show — averaged 23.6 million viewers. In 2019, the first year in decades the show went without a host, the 91st Oscars brought in 29.6 million viewers.

Sunday’s ceremony with the trio of Hall, Schumer and Sykes taking over, marked the end of a three-year hiatus on hosts since Jimmy Kimmel’s turn at the 2018 Academy Awards drew 26.6 million viewers.

The Oscars increase over last year’s very poor viewership and ratings comes at a time when almost all awards shows are suffering low ratings and smaller audiences, a downward trend of the past decade continuing on during the pandemic. The Emmys were notably the only major award telecast to draw more viewers in 2021 than they did the previous year.

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