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Oscars viewership nearly drops to all-time low

Second-time Oscars host Chris Rock didn't help Sunday's  TV ratings at all.


Second-time Oscars host Chris Rock didn't help Sunday's TV ratings at all.



On the positive side, the Academy Awards are still the most watched television that isn't a sporting event.

On the negative side, Sunday's telecast nearly equaled the Oscars' lowest Nielsen ratings ever.

Nielsen estimated Monday that 34.3 million viewers watched all or part - I'm betting on "part" - of the nearly 3 and 1/2 hour ceremonies, where Spotlight pulled a shocking last-minute upset in the best picture category.

Even the chance that second-time Chris Rock would roast Hollywood's diversity problem this year's Oscar nominations exposed wasn't much of a draw. Rock wasn't much more comedically appetizing than Jon Stewart, whose 2008 hosting gig is the lowest-rated Oscars show on record, with just under 32 million viewers.

Last night's Nielsen result was nearly 3 million viewers shy of 2015's number, when Neil Patrick Harris hosted the show.

Reasons for the drop in interest are clear: All-white acting nominations for the second year in a row either left culturally diverse movie fans uncaring or intent upon avoiding the show. The #OscarsSoWhite movement urging people to turn off the show in order to hit the academy in its advertising pocketbook appears to have had an effect.

In addition, the most popular movies of 2015 were generally ignored by the academy in major categories. It isn't coincidence that the highest-rated modern Oscars ever (57 million viewers) was 1998's show when the monster hit Titanic was aboard.

No estimate yet on how many viewers turned off Sunday's telecast after Rock's anticipated opening monologue was finished.


[Last modified: Monday, February 29, 2016 3:27pm]


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