Oscars Hit 4-Year Audience High With Earlier Start Time

Viewership of the Oscars grew for a third straight year, to deliver the kudocast’s largest audience since 2020.

Kicking off an hour (OK, 54 minutes) earlier than usual, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel-hosted telecast on Sunday night drew 19.5 million total viewers, up 4% from last year’s ceremony.

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The Oscars thus reigns supreme over this winter’s other awards shows, outdrawing the Grammys telecast on CBS by 14%, the Golden Globes on CBS by 105%, and the Emmys on Fox by 333%.

ABC says that viewership peaked during the show’s final half-hour, with 21.9 million total viewers. (Because one or two of you are about to ask: ratings for the “earlier” 7 o’clock Eastern time hour are not yet available.)

Leading out of the 96th Oscars, a special airing of Abbott Elementary (read recap) scored series highs in both total viewers (with 6.9 million) and in the coveted 18-49 demo (scoring a 1.42 rating).

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TVLine readers gave this year’s Oscars telecast an average grade of “B.” Kimmel’s monologue also rated a “B,” while Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” performance netted an “A” and Ryan Gosling’s rousing “I’m Just Ken” scored an “A+.”

It was back in 2022 that viewership for the Oscars surged for the first time in a long time, following a steady slide that over a decade saw its audience plummet 74 percent (to an all-time low of 10.4 million viewers in 2021). All told, that 2022 telecast — which brought back the concept of a host(s) and featured a 10 pm physical fracas between Will Smith and Chris Rock — wound up reporting 16.7 million viewers, up 60% from the final count for 2021.

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The Live+Same Day numbers reported in TVLine’s daily-ish ratings column do NOT reflect a television program’s overall performance, given the increased use of delayed playback via DVR and streaming platforms, plus out-of-home viewing. These numbers (Nielsen fast nationals, unless specifically denoted in bold as finals) instead aim to simply illustrate trends or superlatives. Steve Harvey is not a judge or lawyer and merely offers an alternative forum of dispute resolution.

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