×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Down but not dire

Oscars down 8% from '05

Sometimes when the bar is set so low, you can surprise people by clearing it.

That’s what happened with this year’s Oscar ratings, which exceeded some expectations even as the Oscarcast came in as the third least watched of all time.

There had been gloom-and-doom predictions about ratings for the 78th annual Academy Awards soon after noms were announced in January. A bevy of box office-challenged pics, heavy on political themes, didn’t figure to play especially well outside large urban markets.

But in the end, ABC and the Academy have reason to be pleased with the tune-in for Sunday night, when the kudocast averaged a Nielsen-estimated 38.8 million viewers from 8 to 11:30 p.m. ET. That’s an 8% decline from last year (42.1 million) but comfortably ahead of the stunningly low 2003 telecast (33 million).

This year’s crowd — larger than that for the most recent Emmy and Golden Globes shows combined — also is bigger than the Academy Award telecasts in 1986 and 1987 (although population growth since then makes this a not-so-impressive feat).

And while there may indeed be a cultural schism between the red carpet and the red states, Sunday’s telecast proved popular enough across the land to keep the Oscars in heady ratings company. Kudocast ranks higher than all primetime entertainment programs this season, including the 37.9 million who watched “Grey’s Anatomy” after the Super Bowl on ABC and the 35.5 million who watched the season’s top-rated night of Fox’s “American Idol.”

And in the key adults 18-49 demo, Sunday’s estimated 13.9 rating (equating to roughly 18.1 million viewers) ranks behind only the one episode of “Grey’s” and two installments of “Idol” from January.

First-time host Jon Stewart, who has built a young fan base via “The Daily Show” on cable’s Comedy Central, stirred interest among young men. While the overall aud for the Oscars was down 8%, the rating among men 18-34 was up 5%.

Makeup of this year’s 18-49 aud was roughly 58% male, compared with 61% last year.

The Oscars generated a 28.2 household rating/45 share in Los Angeles, according to Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, and a 36.5/51 in New York. Other top markets were Chicago (33.2/47), Philadelphia (31.7/46), San Francisco (31.1/51) and Atlanta (30.7/43).

In households nationally, this year’s estimated 23.0 rating/35 share is the second-lowest ever, ahead of the 20.4/32 in 2003.

The other broadcast nets were an afterthought Sunday, each offering either crime-drama repeats or young, urban-skewing theatricals like “8 Mile” and “Bad Boys 2.” A special 10 o’clock repeat of CBS drama “CSI” was the night’s top non-Oscar program (prelim 3.4/8 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall).

Final numbers for the Academy Awards, as well as ABC’s Oscar pre-show, will be issued by Nielsen today.

Following the Oscars and late local news, ABC’s special episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” averaged a preliminary 4.4 million viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 — the show’s third-best numbers to date, lagging only its two post-Super Bowl airings.

More Film

  • Korea Box Office Weekend: ‘Default’ Wins

    Korea Box Office: ‘Default’ Wins Again, ‘Nutcracker,’ 'Mortal Engines' Fail to Excite

    Korean-made financial drama, “Default” remained on top of the South Korean box office for the second consecutive weekend. The CJ Entertainment release earned $4.95 million from 631,200 admissions between Friday and Sunday for a total of $19.9 million after two weekends on release. “Bohemian Rhapsody” also remained in second. The Fox release earned $4.79 million [...]

  • Ventana Sur: Meikincine Picks Up ‘Just

    Ventana Sur: Meikincine Takes ‘Just Love,’ ‘Super Crazy’(EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Lucia and Julia Meik’s Buenos Aires boutique sales company Meikincine has acquired international sales rights to two of the more mainstream Argentine propositions at this year’s Ventana Sur: Andy Caballero and Diego Corsini’s “Just Love,” and “Re Loca,” the Argentine remake of Chile’s “Sin Filtro.” The “Re Loca” deal is for world [...]

  • Priyanka Chopra Variety Power of Women

    Ivanhoe Pictures Boards Priyanka Chopra’s ‘The Sky is Pink’

    “Crazy Rich Asians” producer Ivanhoe Pictures has come on board Priyanka Chopra’s family drama “The Sky Is Pink.” Ivanhoe will co-invest and co-produce. Fact-based, “Pink” is written and directed by top director Shonali Bose and is based on the life of motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhury. The film is Chopra’s first in India since her U.S. [...]

  • Aquaman

    China Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Sinks All Challengers With $94 Million Opening

    The decision to release “Aquaman” in China two weeks prior to its North American outing paid off handsomely. The DC Comics adaptation achieved a massive $94.1 million opening in three days, according to data from Asian entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway. The early release meant that the film played against weak opposition – tired Hollywood and [...]

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Emmanuel Lubezki Discuss the

    Alfonso Cuarón Details 'Roma' Cinematography With 'Gravity' DP Emmanuel Lubezki

    As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience'” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured panels focused on the film’s crafts and an audio-visual installation akin to the streamer’s FYSee initiative for Emmy contenders, featuring costumes and art [...]

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content