Ratings for the Academy Awards appear to have rebounded in 2019, following four straight years of declines.
According to very preliminary numbers, Sunday night’s host-free, tight-and-bright, 200-minute ABC telecast scored a 21.6 rating in the metered market households. That’s up 14 percent from last year’s 18.9, which marked an all-time low and ultimately translated into the ceremony’s smallest audience ever (26.5 million).
Update: In Nielsen finals, the Oscars delivered 29.6 million total viewers, up 11 percent from last year’s all-time low and marking the first audience gain in five years. In the covered 18-49 demo, the big show scored a 7.7, up 13 percent from 2018.
This year’s telecast came on the heels of more than six months of headline-making hiccups, starting with the Academy backtracking on the addition of a Best Popular Film category, peaking with the controversy that led to Kevin Hart being replaced with ultimately no one as host, and ending with the near-immediate reversal of a decision to hand out a few awards during commercial breaks.
TVLine readers gave Sunday night’s host-less telecast an average grade of “B,” with 79 percent saying they preferred the uncluttered format.
The final audience for this year’s Oscars will be reported late Monday. Total audiences for the previous 10 telecasts are listed below.
2018: 26.5 million (host Jimmy Kimmel)
2017: 32.9 million (host Jimmy Kimmel)
2016: 34.3 million (host Chris Rock)
2015: 37.3 million (host Neil Patrick Harris)
2014: 43.7 million (host Ellen DeGeneres)
2013: 40.3 million (host Seth MacFarlane)
2012: 39.3 million (host Billy Crystal)
2011: 37.9 million (hosts Anne Hathaway/James Franco, ugh)
2010: 41.3 million (hosts Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin)
2009: 36.9 million (host Hugh Jackman)