UPDATE: The 2022 Oscars drew 16.6 million viewers on Sunday, up 58% from last year’s record-low audience of 10.5 million, according to Live + Same Day Nielsen data, which includes out-of-home viewing. The 94th Academy Awards averaged a 3.8 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, up 73% from the 2021 telecast. While the year-over-year growth is impressive, it’s still the second-worst viewership and ratings performance in the history of the Oscars.
The show, the first Oscars to have hosts since 2018, was the highest-rated entertainment special in primetime on any network in two years in the key demo, with the previous being ABC’s Oscars broadcast on Feb. 9, 2020. Sunday’s show was the No. 1 primetime entertainment program of the broadcast season to-date, in terms of both viewers and ratings.
Viewership spiked at three notable 15-minute points during the show: “CODA” star Troy Kotsur’s win for best supporting actor, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, and Smith’s best actor acceptance speech.
In terms of social media performance, the 94th Academy Swards “drove 22.7 million total social interactions, spiking 139% over last year’s broadcast (9.5 million) to become the most social Oscars telecast on record.” It is the No. 1 most social entertainment program of the year to date and the year’s No. 2 most social telecast overall, behind Super Bowl LVI. The awards show garnered 16 million video views across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
PREVIOUSLY: 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 data, the 2021 ceremony drew 9.85 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. The 2022 Oscars, which aired live from 8 p.m. to roughly 11:40 p.m. ET, are up considerably in both metrics — but still come in as the second-least-watched and second-lowest-rated Academy Awards on the books.
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 2022 Oscars increase over last year's very poor viewership and ratings made it the highest-rated and most-watched awards show in two years, at a time when almost all awards shows are suffering low ratings and smaller audiences as part of downward trend of the past decade that has been exacerbated during the pandemic. The Emmys were notably the only major award telecast to draw more viewers in 2021 than they did the previous year.