×

Oscar ratings down from last year

Still, kudocast holds relatively well among young adults

One year after expanding the best-pic category to 10 films, ratings for the Academy Awards remained strong despite showing some declines.

An average aud of 37.6 million tuned in to ABC’s telecast Sunday, off 10% from last year’s 41.7 million, which repped a five-year high, but ahead of both 2009 (36.3 million) and the record low of 2008 (32.0 million). This is a larger aud than anything but football these days, towering over the top-rated seg of this season’s “American Idol” on Fox (26.2 million) as well as the second most popular kudocast (the Grammys on CBS drew 26.7 million).

And a somewhat calculated decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to go for a younger audience with 20-something thesp hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway seems to have paid off: The Oscars were down just 5% in adults 18-34 (10.6 vs. 11.1). Ratings fell off in the 12%-13% range in other categories including adults 18-49 (11.7 vs. a 13.3 last year), 25-54 (13.2 vs. 15.2) and 50-plus (19.8 vs. 22.5).

This year’s list of Oscar nominees recognized an unusually diverse crop of specialty titles (“The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan”) and B.O. powerhouses (“Inception” and “Toy Story 3”) — a byproduct of the expanded best pic category; in all, five of the best-pic nominees have topped $100 million domestically.

Still, there was nothing approaching the B.O. bounty of last year’s “Avatar,” which holds the all-time North America record for box office receipts and was a big factor in last year’s ratings surge.

The preliminary national household rating/share for this year’s Oscars was a 21.1/33 — down 9% from last year’s 23.3/37.

New York reclaimed its title as the top-rated local market (33.9 household rating), edging out Chicago (33.0), with Gotham up 14% from last year (when a battle between ABC station WABC and Cablevision kept the kudocast off the screens in roughly 3 million homes at the start of the show) and the Windy City down 12%.

Other markets in which more than 30% of households were tuned in to the Oscars were: San Francisco-Oakland (33.6), Kansas City (32.7), Boston (32.0), Denver (31.2), host city Los Angeles (30.8) and neighbor San Diego (30.3).

Advertiser demand was strong for this year’s Academy Awards, with ABC reporting more than two weeks before the telecast that it had sold all available spots. And with each 30-second spot fetching roughly $1.7 million, the network was able to collect more than $80 million in revenue.

From 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC’s “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live” averaged a preliminary 26.4 million viewers, the spec’s largest aud since 2007. And E! scored the most-watched “Live from the Red Carpet” in the net’s history from 6 to 8 p.m., with its nearly 4 million viewers outperforming last year’s delivery by 9% to become one of the net’s 10 most-watched telecasts ever.

Following the Oscars, a special “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC averaged about 4.5 million viewers, including 1.75 million in the 18-49 demo — the second best post-Oscar “JKL” in the last four years. Featuring special appearances by Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, Kelly Ripa, Minka Kelly and Sofia Vergara, it was up slightly vs. last year in women 18-34.

ABC also noted that preliminary data showed a 29% increase in viewers vs. last year on Oscar.com and the Oscar Backstage Pass App.

More TV

  • Mad About You Review

    TV Review: 'Mad About You' Reboot

    “Mad About You” would seem an unlikely show to reboot: Unlike fellow 1990s NBC comedy hits “Frasier,” “Friends,” and “Seinfeld,” it’s had no meaningful second life on streaming, and its central story, of a couple living together in New York, is hardly one that feels either proprietary to the show or urgently in need of [...]

  • Rocko's Modern Life reboot

    Nickelodeon and Netflix Ink New Multi-Year Output Deal for Original Animated Features, Shows

    In an expansion of their relationship, Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a new multi-year output deal to produce original animated features and television series, based on both existing Nickelodeon characters as well as brand-new ones. The Viacom-owned kids content producer has previously brought to life “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” and “Invader Zim: Enter the [...]

  • bravo-pepsi-sparkling-rose

    Bravo Fans Get First Taste of Pepsi Champagne as NBCU Lures Madison Ave. to New Events

    NBCUniversal is best known among advertisers for selling TV commercials. Now the media giant wants to burnish its reputation for selling something that is only tangentially related to the TV screen. People who signed up for the company’s “BravoCon 2019” fan event, slated to take place between November 15 and November 17 in New York [...]

  • Rob Lowe TCA

    Rob Lowe's British Cop Series ‘Wild Bill’ Axed by ITV

    Rob Lowe’s fish-out-of-water British cop show “Wild Bill” will not get a second season. Despite the pull of big-name U.S. talent, the series failed to set ratings alight in the U.K. and garnered mixed reviews. British broadcaster ITV said Wednesday that the show will not be coming back. The series saw “West Wing” star Lowe [...]

  • Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being

    Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being Adapted as Epic Drama Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Great Century” is being adapted as an epic drama series by Dramacorp-Pampas Studios, which has landed the rights to Swedish author Jan Guillou’s book series. Guillou is known for his “Hamilton” spy-thriller novels, which Dramacorp-Pampas Studios has brought to TV as “Agent Hamilton.” That project had an international premiere at Mipcom and has presold [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content