2ND UPDATE, 9:25 AM: Will Smith has finally apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him during the live Oscar telecast on March 27, and now we have the final numbers for the 94th Academy Awards.
Inching up a touch from the fast nationals of yesterday morning, the very dramatic and historic 2022 Oscars captured 16.6 million viewers and a rating among adults 18-49 of 3.8.
While still the second least-watched and lowest-rated Academy Awards ever, Sunday’s Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall-hosted show is up nearly 60% in audience and 73% in the key demo from the hostless 2021 Oscars.
According to Nielsen time slot breakdowns, the 2022 Oscars saw no significant surge in viewers after the King Richard star took a whack at comic Rock for a crack about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. There was jump of around 614,000 viewers in the 11 PM – 11:14 PM ET slot when Smith took the stage again for his tearful and somewhat apologetic Best Actor award acceptance speech. That saw the Oscars’ audience go to 17.4 million sets of eyeballs watching ABC and a 3.9 rating.
Yet even with all the attention on the Smith and Rock dust-up and aftermath, the actor’s long speech was actually the second highest slot of the more than 3 and a half hours long show’s night. Snaring an audience of 17.7 million and 4.0 rating, the sign language delivered Best Supporting Actor win by CODA’s Troy Kotsur in the 9:15 PM – 9:29 PM ET period was the tops.
However, because this is 2022 not 1992, the ceremony really blew the roof off when it comes to social media.
No time slot specific metrics are available (which is weird), but overall the 94th Academy Awards looks to be far and away the “most social Oscars telecast on record,” says ABC. Apples to mushy apples, the 2022 Oscars saw a leap of 139% in social media activity over the 2021 Oscars — and, we’re talking about you Glenn Close and “Da Butt“, if you recall of not, a lot of people were tweeting about that Union Station set event. Overall, this year’s Oscars had a whooping 22.7 million total social interactions.
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Now, it’s not Kim Kardashian being seen at a Shake Shack with Peter Davidson big (that’s a joke) on the social media scale, but it is surely a sign where Hollywood’s biggest night may want to center their efforts going forward.
A.K.A. – welcome to the TikTok-only 95th Academy Awards red carpet …
UPDATED, March 28 10:29 AM: If only the Oscars themselves moved as fast as the numbers counters at ABC.
Mere minutes after fast-affiliate data for the 94th Academy Awards was out, the Disney-owned net that pays tens of millions a year to broadcast Hollywood’s biggest but stumbling night was out with the adjusted fast nationals.
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Moving up a bit from the preliminary data, the 2022 Oscars now is estimated to have had 15.4 million viewers and snagged a rating of 2.9 among adults 18-49.
Apples to apples with the same metrics, that’s a 56% increase in audience over last year and 68% in the important demo. However, even with what looks like big leaps over 2021, the 2022 Oscars are still the second-lowest in history.
ABC plans to update again Tuesday with final Live+Same Day National numbers and undoubtedly some streaming and other platforms tossed in too. We will, of course, update when we get the update.
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PREVIOUSLY, 10:10 AM: Going into last night, the 94th Academy Awards’ notoriety seemed almost exclusively to be birthed from the decisions by organizers and the producers to cut the handing out of eight so-called below-the-line categories in an effort to move the show along at a quicker clip and increase on-air star power.
Almost overwhelming historic wins by CODA and actor Troy Kotsur, Power of the Dog director Jane Campion, and West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose, the enduring infamy of the 2022 Oscars will of course now be Will Smith’s maniacal slap of Chris Rock for insensitively mocking Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair and the Academy doing nothing to the subsequent Best Actor winner.
And after all that, the ceremony produced by Will Packer and Shayla Cowan still went over three and a half hours on ABC and one hour off-camera for those neglected crafts awards.
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Still, coming off the least-watched and lowest-rated Oscars ever from last year’s pandemic protocols hybrid affair, the real goal was to get the numbers up to help justify the Disney-owned network’s $100 million annual license fee it pays out to the long-struggling Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences event.
In that sense, Sunday’s show hosted by Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall was a success, somewhat.
According to early numbers from Nielsen, the 8-11 p.m. ET portion of the Oscars pulled in 13.7 million viewers and snared a rating of 2.9 among adults 18-49. Those is the second-lowest Oscar results ever, only exceeded by the dismal data of last year.
Put in the best spin cycle possible, that’s a 39% increase in initial metrics over the the sets of eyeballs that watched hostless 93rd Academy Awards held on April 25, 2021. In terms of the still lucrative demography, the 2022 Oscars beat the 2021 Oscars by 53%.
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Spun around, and taking the pandemic slightly out of the mix, the viewership for the 94th Academy Awards fell from that of the 92nd Academy Awards by significant double digits of over around 40%. To throw in a bit of context on how far the Oscars have fallen over the past 25 years, the 1998 Oscars, where Titanic won Best Picture, were watched by 55.3 million people. That’s the most ever for the nearly century-old show.
Having said that, those fast affiliates for this year’s Oscars are not adjusted for West Coast viewing and are certain to go up when more accurate fast nationals are released later today. Those numbers will include the last nearly 40 minutes of the show that aired after 11 p.m. ET, aka when things got violent, the Internet blew up and Smith gave a heartfelt but misconceived acceptance speech for his King Richard win.
The 2021 Oscars ended up with around 10.4 million viewers and a rating of 2.1 for its 8-11:10 p.m. ET show.
Check out the ratings for all the Oscarcasts since 2001 below.
Beyond the 94th annual Academy Awards, Sunday primetime was pretty regular with 60 Minutes (1.4, 8.64M) topping both ratings and audience. The CBS news program rose in the demo but fell slightly in audience from the previous week. After 60 Minutes, CBS touted two new episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles (0.6, 5.43M/0.5, 4.92M)
NBC showed a repeat of American Song Contest, followed by a new episode of Transplant (0.1, 0.93M) while Fox aired its typical animation domination slate. All of Fox’s titles were steady. Riverdale (0.1, 0.25M) on The CW matched the previous week exactly. March fizzled out with its finale, earning a 0.0 demo rating and airing to fewer than a 100,000 viewers.
We will update with more Oscars metrics from ABC as they come in.
In the meantime, check out the list of telecasts over the past two decades to get a wider context of the Oscar bloodbath over the 21st century:
2021: 10.4 million, Nomandland (No host)
2020: 23.6 million, Parasite (No host)
2019: 29.6 million, Green Book (No host)
2018: 26.5 million, The Shape of Water (Jimmy Kimmel)
2017: 32.9 million, Moonlight (Jimmy Kimmel)
2016: 34.4 million, Spotlight (Chris Rock)
2015: 37.3 million, Birdman (Neil Patrick Harris)
2014: 43.7 million, 12 Years a Slave (Ellen DeGeneres)
2013: 40.3 million, Argo (Seth MacFarlane)
2012: 39.3 million, The Artist (Billy Crystal)
2011: 37.9 million, The King’s Speech (Anne Hathaway/James Franco)
2010: 41.3 million, The Hurt Locker (Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin)
2009: 36.3 million, Slumdog Millionaire (Hugh Jackman)
2008: 32.0 million, No Country For Old Men (Jon Stewart)
2007: 40. 2 million, The Departed (Ellen DeGeneres)
2006: 38.9 million, Crash (Jon Stewart)
2005 42.1 million, Million Dollar Baby (Chris Rock)
2004: 43.5 million, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Billy Crystal)
2003: 33.0 million, Chicago (Steve Martin)
2002: 41.8 million, A Beautiful Mind (Whoopi Goldberg)
2001: 42.9 million, Gladiator (Steve Martin)
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