The early viewing numbers for the 2018 Oscars hosted by Jimmy Kimmel do not look good. Kimmel’s stint as emcee of the 90th Academy Awards registered an overnight rating of 18.9 for the first three hours. That is off by about 15% from the numbers for last year, which marked Kimmel’s first time presiding over Hollywood’s biggest night.
Last year’s edition of the Oscars came in at 32.9 million viewers, the lowest audience since the 2008 ceremony presided over by Jon Stewart drew just 31.9 million. By way of comparison, the 2016 Oscars hosted by Chris Rock had 34.4 million viewers while the 2015 ceremony emceed by Neil Patrick Harris attracted 37.3 million. All those results lag behind the benchmark set by Ellen DeGeneres in 2014, when she drew 43.7 million. That was the biggest number since the 2000 telecast hosted by Billy Crystal had 46.5 million tuning in to see “American Beauty” win Best Picture.
Even more troubling is the anemic performance among the demographically desirable 18-49 year olds. Early numbers look to be down from the 89th annual Academy Awards, which merited a mere 9.1 rating among these advertiser friendly folks. That was a drop of 14% from 2016’s 10.5 rating for this group.
ABC has extended its agreement with the academy until 2028, no doubt heartened by the $100 million plus in ad revenues generated annually by the Oscars. This year and last, the alphabet net had the added exposure of one of its in-house talents emceeing.