February 27, 2017

The Oscars Ratings: Past 10 Years (Updated with Official Nationals)

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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UPDATE: In the official live+same day nationals for Sunday 2.26.2017, The Oscars averaged a 9.1 18-49 rating and 32.9 million viewers 2+, a modest +6% lift from the fast nationals.  That is a record low 18-49 rating, and the total viewer counts managed to stay slightly above the 2008 low, thanks mostly to population growth in the last decade.

The Oscars on ABC on Sunday 2.26.2017 (hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with Best Picture La La Land Moonlight) averaged a preliminary 8.7 18-49 rating in the fast nationals, continuing a recent three-year downtrend.  The show averaged a preliminary 31.1 million viewers 2+ in the fast nationals, closer to last year’s initial tally, indicating the Oscars audience continues to age as the declines tend to be concentrated with viewers under 50 and especially 35.

Of course, the fast nationals are merely a rough guide, measuring only the 8:30-11:00 pm ET portion of the show in most of the country and only the final 45 minutes or so in the Pacific time zone, where much of the show aired before prime time.  The final nationals (available later today or early tomorrow) will properly count viewing for the entire telecast in each time zone. Typically the final nationals rise +8% to +9% from the preliminary nationals.  This year could be closer to a +7% lift in the official nationals because so much of the show aired past 11:30 pm ET, when television usage levels decline rapidly because of the late hour in most of the country.

 Fast Nationals

8:30-11pm ET

Final Nationals

Full Duration

 % Lift




The Oscars / Academy Awards

(ABC) Since 2008

 Date P18-49 Rating Persons 2+ P18-49 Rating Persons 2+ Host Best Picture  End Time
2.24.2008 n/a n/a 10.7 32,018,000 n/a Jon Stewart No Country for Old Men 11:37pm
2.22.2009 n/a n/a 12.1 36,318,000 n/a Hugh Jackman Slumdog Millionaire 11:24pm
3.7.2010 n/a n/a 13.3 41,708,000 n/a Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin The Hurt Locker 11:38pm
2.27.2011 n/a n/a 11.8 37,922,000 n/a James Franco & Anne Hathaway The King’s Speech 11:31pm
2.26.2012 n/a n/a 11.7 39,341,000 n/a Billy Crystal The Artist 11:23pm
2.24.2013 n/a n/a 13.0 40,376,000 n/a Seth MacFarlane Argo 11:39pm
3.2.2014 12.1 40,168,000 13.1 43,633,000 +9% Ellen DeGeneres 12 Years a Slave 11:40pm
2.22.2015 10.3 34,628,000 11.0 37,296,000 +8% Neil Patrick Harris Birdman 11:47pm
2.28.2016 9.7 31,762,000 10.5 34,477,000 +9% Chris Rock Spotlight 11:51pm
2.26.2017 8.7 31,067,000 9.1 32,900,00 +6% Jimmy Kimmel Moonlight  TBA


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.