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Oscars could buck award shows ratings' trend

Mar 28, 2022
Award show viewers
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

Watch for ratings news this afternoon, because the Oscars could buck the recent trend of awards shows suffering heavy ratings losses.

Why it matters: Awards shows have been big business for decades, with the Oscars as the top draw.

  • Last year's Oscars, held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles rather than its usual Dolby Theatre, fell by more than 50% to 10.4 million viewers — a record low by far.
  • Streaming has started to snap up awards shows, too. The Academy of Country Music Awards moved from its longtime home CBS to Amazon this year.

💭 Tim's thought bubble: Even after cutting eight awards from the live broadcast, the Oscars still went 40 minutes over its allotted three-hour runtime.

  • Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall did a capable job as hosts. A few funny bits and a few others that felt too long.
  • The addition of two awards voted by fans — "Oscars Cheer Moment" and "Oscars Fan Favorite" — was even more bizarre than expected. (Pro tip: Never count out Zack Snyder's fans.)
  • It was indicative of a show that spent way too many times trying to cater to viewers that probably weren't watching anyway.
  • Most memorable moments: Youn Yuh-jung announcing Kotsur won by first signing his name before saying it out loud. The second is the slap heard 'round the world when Will Smith, angry over a Chris Rock joke about wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, walked up to the stage and slapped him in front of a shocked crowd.
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