Ratings: Oscars Hit All-Time Low, Down Sharply From First Host-Less Outing

TV Ratings Oscars 2020

In the latest TV ratings, ABC’s broadcast of the 2020 Oscars averaged 23.6 million total viewers and a 5.3 demo rating, down 20 and 30 percent from last year’s first host-less outing.

This year’s Academy Awards thus hit new lows in both measures, lagging behind the previous “record holder” — the 2018 Oscars hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

The Oscars outdrew both this award season’s Grammys (which were steady-ish with 18.7 million viewers) and the Golden Globes (which dipped to 18.3 million viewers), making it TV’s most-watched entertainment special in a year (since the previous Oscars), though the Grammys edged out the Oscars in the coveted 18-49 demo (having scored a 5.4 rating).

Last year’s host-less Oscars delivered 29.6 million total viewers and a 7.7 demo rating in Nielsen finals.

Among this Sunday evening’s performances, Janelle Monáe’s opening number averaged a TVLine reader grade of “B+,” Idina Menzel & Co. earned an “A,” This Is Us‘ Chrissy Metz netted an “A-,” Cynthia Erivo earned an “A+” and Billie Eilish’s “In Memoriam” anthem drew a “B+.” Non-hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock’s opening “mono”-logue, meanwhile, earned an average reader grade of “B+”

Oscar audiences for the previous 10 years:

2019: 29.6 million total viewers (no host)
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)

Of the many reruns airing opposite the Oscars, CBS’ FBI delivered the largest audience (4.1 million total viewers) while also landing in a six-way tie for the highest demo rating (scoring a 0.4.).