×

TV Ratings: Oscars Hit New Viewership Low With 26.5 Million

UPDATED: The 2018 Academy Awards telecast on ABC attracted 26.5 million viewers across the nearly four-hour show on Sunday night.

While that was good enough to handily top all of Sunday’s broadcast competition and most of the award shows of the past year, it is still the least-watched Oscars to date. The drop off was not entirely unexpected, as the audiences for most award shows have seen declines in recent years. As it stands, the 2018 Oscars are down approximately 19% compared to 2017.

PREVIOUSLY: Live viewership of the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony was down significantly from the 2017 telecast, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings for ABC’s nearly four-hour telecast.

The 8 p.m.-11 p.m. portion of ABC’s telecast averaged an 18.9 household rating and 32 share in Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That’s down about 16% from the 22.5/37 rating generated by the 2017 Oscars.

However, the preliminary ratings are not adjusted for time zone differences. ABC’s 8 p.m.-11:48 p.m. ET Oscarcast aired live coast to coast, which means the live West Coast viewership is not accurately reflected in the overnight numbers that measure only primetime hours in all markets. Nor do they include viewership from the post-11 p.m. final 48 minutes when the most prominent awards were handed out to winners that included Gary Oldman as best actor, for “Darkest Hour,” and Frances McDormand, for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

In the fast nationals, which are also not time zone adjusted, the Oscars telecast averaged a 6.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 24.4 million viewers, compared to the 8.7 rating and 29.1 million viewers the 2017 telecast drew in the preliminary numbers. 2017’s telecast eventually rose to a 9.1 and 32.9 million viewers. ABC will likely see a lift in the numbers once the final data becomes available later today, but as it currently stands, the 2018 Oscars telecast is at an all-time low in the ratings.

Nonetheless, the overnights give a glimpse of the baseline turnout for the ceremony that crowned the fantasy drama “The Shape of Water” as best picture.

Despite the drop, ABC was the dominant network of the night, easily topping its Big Four competitors combined.

As it currently stands, ABC averaged a 5.8 rating and 22.4 million viewers on Sunday night. NBC averaged a 0.6, while CBS and Fox tied with a 0.5 CBS averaged 4.5 million viewers, while NBC drew 2.7 million and Fox drew 1.7 million.

More TV

  • 9-1-1: LONE STAR: L-R: Rob Lowe

    TV Ratings: '9-1-1: Lone Star' Starts Strong Behind NFC Championship Game

    “9-1-1 Lone Star” got off to a flaming start for Fox in the TV ratings behind the NFC Championship game. The Rob Lowe-fronted series premiere to a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers in the time zone-adjusted ratings, which represents easily the best scripted debut of the 2019-2020 season. “Lone Star” had [...]

  • Ariel Winograd'TOD@S CAEN' film premiere, Los

    Viacom International Studios Signs First Look Deal with Ariel Winograd (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Adding to a powerful and still growing talent roster, Viacom International Studios (VIS) has clinched a first-look deal with Argentine writer-director Ariel Winograd whose latest movie, “The Heist of the Century,” has just become one of the biggest Argentine openers in history. The multi-year pact takes in the development and production of not [...]

  • William Bogert Dead: 'Small Wonder' Actor

    William Bogert, Who Appeared in 'War Games,' 'Small Wonder,' Dies at 83

    TV, film and theater actor William Bogert, who appeared in a recurring role on 1980s sitcom “Small Wonder” and in films such as “War Games,” died Jan. 12 in New York. He was 83. On “Small Wonder,” which ran from 1985 to 1989, Bogert played Brandon Brindle, the Lawsons’ neighbor and Harriet’s father who became [...]

  • Editorial Use OnlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    TV Ratings: NFL's AFC, NFC Championship Games Down From 2019

    The NFL’s AFC and NFC championship games made for a blockbuster Sunday of football for CBS and Fox, but viewership of the games that determine the contenders for the Super Bowl was down from 2019 levels. CBS’ AFC championship in the 3 p.m. ET afternoon slot delivered 41.1 million viewers as the Kansas City Chiefs [...]

  • Medici TV Show

    Vuulr Online Rights Market Makes Global Expansion at NATPE

    Singapore-based Vuulr, an online content marketplace for film and TV rights, is expanding from regional to global operations. The move was announced ahead of NATPE, one of the oldest face-to-face TV rights markets, this week launching its tenth edition in Miami, Florida (Jan 21-23). The Vuulr platform is free to use for buyers and for [...]

  • What to Watch on TV This

    What to Watch on TV This Week: ‘Picard' Premieres and 'Shrill' Returns

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Star Trek: Picard” beams into existence on CBS All Access and “Shrill” returns [...]

  • SAG Awards 2020: What You Didn't

    SAG Awards 2020: From Charlize Theron to 'Parasite,' What You Didn't See on TV

    Brad Pitt made a crack about his marriages. Robert De Niro got political. And Jennifer Aniston talked about appearing in a commercial for Bob’s Big Boy. Those were just some of thing that happened on stage at the SAG Awards that were broadcast on TNT/TBS on Sunday night. However, Variety was inside the Shrine Auditorium [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content