The final overall viewer numbers and 18-49 demo ratings aren't in yet -- check back this afternoon -- but early numbers show a drop from recent years.
Here's how The Hollywood Reporter put it:
"Per Nielsen's overnight estimates, the three-and-a-half-hour-long ABC event averaged a 23.4 rating among households in 56 of the nation's biggest TV markets. That's 6 percent decrease from 2015, making for a seven-year low in overnights."
If you ask Deadline, it's the lowest in eight years, citing a metered market result of 23.1/37:
"Declining to an 8-year low, that's down 6% from the 24.6/39 that the ceremony got last year in early results from the 56 markets across the country. That 2015 Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Oscars were matched with the 2011 Oscars for the third worst the Academy Awards has done in MM ratings since the last time Rock fronted the gig in 2005 – only 2009's Hugh Jackman-hosted 23.3 and 2008's Jon Stewart-hosted 21.9 were lower. Obviously, in the early results, last night's show dipped below 2009 and close to 2008 numbers."
Variety also went with the eight-year low for the early numbers:
"In Nielsen's metered market overnights, which include 56 of the nation's largest markets, the Chris Rock-hosted 88th Annual Academy Awards averaged a still-big 23.4 household rating/36 share from 8:30 to midnight ET, down 6% from last year's 25.0/38 and 16% below the 10-year high of 27.9/41 from two years ago. And in adults 18-49, last night's 13.5 overnight rating was down 5% from 2015 (14.2)."
Deadline added that the 2005 Oscars were the best the show has done with a 30.1/43 metered market rating. They also compared Rock's previous hosting gig 11 years ago to now, saying, last night's 8:30-to-midnight show was down 23% in metered market results.
Variety estimated that the 2016 Oscars will "finish in the vicinity of 34 million viewers," which would still easily give it the title of TV's top-rated non-sports program of the year. Compared to the recent Grammy Awards, Variety said Sunday's Oscars out-performed the Grammys on CBS by 45% in households and 56% in adults 18-49 in Nielsen's overnights.
So it's a win, overall. However, if the final viewer and demo numbers show significant drops from past years, it will inevitably be blamed on race -- whether from people boycotting the show because of the all-white nominees or because they didn't want to hear about race from Chris Rock's monologue. Either way, they missed a decent show, including Leo's big win, which broke Twitter.
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