Kobe Bryant Oscar win
Kobe Bryant after winning an Oscar for best animated short film, “Dear Basketball.” Photo: ABC

ABC’s Oscars telecast averaged a record-low 26.5 million viewers, according to preliminary figures released Monday by Nielsen.

The previous low was 32.006 million for the 2008 ceremony hosted by talk show host Jon Stewart — when “No Country For Old Men” was the best picture winner. Individual viewership figures have been kept since 1974.

The viewership dropped 19.7 percent from the 33.001-million average for the 2017 ceremony, which had been the second-lowest all-time. The ceremonies Sunday and in 2017 were both hosted by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

Final figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but are not expected to change significantly from those released Monday. The difference between preliminary and final figures for the Oscars is customarily between 100,000 and 300,000 viewers.

Viewership for most forms of programming has dropped in recent years, in part because of increased viewership of streaming programming.

Viewership for both the Golden Globes on NBC and Grammy Awards on CBS in January dropped from last year.

The Golden Globes averaged 19.007 million viewers, 5 percent less than 2017, when it averaged 20.015 million viewers. The Grammy Awards drew its smallest audience since 2009, 19.803 million, a 24 percent drop from the 26.071 million average from the 2017 ceremony, the most-watched since 2014.

The most-watched Oscar ceremony was in 1998, when an average of 55.25 million viewers watched then-box office record-setter “Titanic” win the best picture Oscar and actor Billy Crystal was the host.

—City News Service

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