Early numbers are in for the 2016 Oscars, and the initial stats have the Chris Rock-hosted telecast down even farther from last year’s lows. The telecast ranks as the second-lowest rated on record, with 34.3 million viewers, per Fast National ratings.
Nielsen’s overnight estimates had the 3½-hour ABC event on track for another drop with an average 23.4 rating among households in 56 of the nation’s biggest TV markets. That’s off 6 percent from 2015, making for a seven-year low in overnights.
The least-watched Oscars on record is still the 2008 ceremony hosted by Jon Stewart. That show came in just shy of 32 million viewers.
This year’s Oscars seemed poised to go either way ahead of the big night. The weekslong controversy over the complete absence of racial of diversity in the acting categories stood to turn many viewers away from the telecast, with some calling for a boycott, but the question of how Rock would address #OscarsSoWhite could have also goosed the ratings. Evidentially, it was the former.
Interestingly, Rock’s Oscars were a hit among male viewers. The show jumped 20 percent with men 18-34 and 6 percent among men 18-49.
The most recent Oscars set a pretty mediocre bar for ratings. The 2015 telecast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, averaged an overnight 25.0 rating among households — off 10 percent from the previous telecast. Adjusted numbers made for even more dramatic drops, with viewership at a six-year low 37.2 million. 2015 also suffered in the key demographic of adults 18-49, dropping 18 percent to a 11 rating.
These Oscars weren’t down as much among younger viewers. The show averaged a nearly steady 10.4 rating among adults 18-49. And there is also still room for improvement. Fast National ratings typically rise in finals. Last year’s added another 700,000 viewers when all the cards were on the table.