The Oscars draw more than 15 million viewers, up from last year’s record low

TV ratings for the Oscars have rebounded somewhat from last year’s record low, but the event still doesn’t seem to have the appeal it once did for viewers.

Sunday’s ceremony reached an estimated 15.36 million viewers, according to preliminary numbers from the Nielsen Company released Monday by ABC. A more detailed estimate is expected on Tuesday, with things like out-of-home viewing added.

CODA took home Best Picture at Sunday’s ceremony, but all the winners and losers were eclipsed by Best Actor winner Will Smith who stormed the stage to slap comedian Chris Rock over a joke that Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Producers have made changes to the fight ratings drop

Hosts Amy Schumer, L-R, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall appear onstage at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. The show’s ratings have rebounded slightly this year after last year’s viewership hit an all-time high. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press)

Held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 ceremony had reached an astonishingly low 9.85 million viewers. This led to several changes to the Oscars this year, including the addition of hosts and the assignment of eight pre-air categories and their fitting into the live show.

While that clearly seemed to help, an audience of 15 million is still lower than the 23.6 million people who watched the Oscars in 2020. Until last year, that was the smallest audience ever. for an Oscar ceremony.

Nielsen didn’t immediately have more specific viewership figures for Sunday’s show, but research firm Samba TV said its own study didn’t indicate the Smith-Rock incident had a significant effect on the size of the audience at the time of the ceremony.

Viewership for live television events, with the notable exception of NFL football games, has been declining for several years with the advent of streaming and cord-cutting. Some Hollywood watchers believe the relatively narrow appeal of many Oscar-honored films has also limited viewership.

WATCH | Actor Will Smith storms the stage to slap Chris Rock:

Will Smith bangs Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars

Actor Will Smith slammed Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars during the live stream, after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. 2h30