ABC will continue to broadcast the Academy Awards in an agreement extension through 2028. The network’s previous contract was set to expire in 2020.
The 89th Academy Awards returns to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 26, 2017. The ceremony is televised live to 225-plus countries and territories around the globe.
“We’re honored to continue our storied and successful partnership with ABC in broadcasting the most watched live entertainment event of the year,” said Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs in a statement. “In 2028, we’ll mark the Oscars 100th anniversary, and ABC is the perfect partner to help us celebrate the magic of movies with our fans. On behalf of the Academy, I thank Jim Gianopulos, our Academy Treasurer and chair of the Board’s Finance Committee, and Disney/ABC’s Ben Sherwood, for leading these efforts.”
“After hosting the Academy Awards more than 50 times, ABC has become the home for Hollywood’s most prestigious and glamorous night of television. With this new landmark agreement, ABC is proud to showcase the Oscars all the way to their Centennial celebration in 2028,” added Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
“The Academy’s partnership with ABC has been one of the most enduring in Hollywood,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “Both the Academy and ABC set high bars for excellence, and ABC has a proven passion to help us deliver a great show to our global audience. We couldn’t think of a more trusted collaborator to further our mission of inspiring and connecting the world through film.”
The renewed contract was negotiated on behalf of AMPAS by Boone Isaacs, Hudson, Gianopulos, attorneys Chris Tayback and Ken Ziffren, economic advisor John Sandbrook and Academy in-house counsel Scott Miller. Disney/ABC Television Group’s negotiating team consisted of Sherwood; Dungey; Jana Wingrade, head of Business Operations; Jennifer Mayo, senior vice president, Business Affairs; Grant Michaelson, vice president, Business Affairs; Mark Mazie, chief counsel, Media Networks; and Stewart Harrison, deputy chief counsel.
Last year the Oscars telecast, hosted by Chris Rock, hit an eight-year low and the third lowest viewership ever with 34.4M viewers. Despite the decline, ABC reportedly commanded between $1.8M-$2.2M for a 30 second ad spot, earning an estimated record haul of $120M for the Oscar telecast. However, viewership often correlates to the films that are nominated, and the bigger the blockbuster, the bigger the ceremony’s ratings. Last year, indie title Spotlight took home best picture. Compare that to 1998 when the then-highest grossing movie of all-time Titanic won best picture and 55.3M viewers tuned in, or 2004 when fanboy popcorn epic The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won 11 Oscars including best picture, drawing an audience of 43.5M.