ABC’s Oscars telecast is expected to be the second-least watched on record when final viewership figures are released Tuesday, beating out only last year’s show.
Sunday’s hostless three-hour, 13-minute ceremony from the Dolby Theatre averaged 29.6 million viewers, according to preliminary figures released Monday by Nielsen, an 11.7 percent increase over last year’s record-low of 26.5 million, when the ceremony ran 41 minutes longer and was hosted by ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
Final figures 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.
The final viewership figure for the 2018 ceremony was 26.541 million.
Individual viewership figures have been kept since 1974.
Ratings for most forms of programming have dropped in recent years, primarily because of increased viewership of streaming programming.
Sunday’s ceremony was the most-watched prime-time entertainment program since the 2017 Oscars telecast, which averaged 33.001 million. It also allowed the Oscars to reclaim its longtime title as television’s most-watched entertainment program of the season, a distinction lost last year to the post-Super Bowl episode of the NBC drama “This Is Us,” which averaged 26.972 million viewers.
The most-watched Academy Awards ceremony was in 1998, when an average of 55.25 million viewers watched then-box office record-setter “Titanic” win the best picture Oscar. Billy Crystal was the host that year.
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