Oscars May Hit Ratings Low

Feb 25, 2008  •  Post A Comment

“No Country for Old Men” took top prize at this year’s Academy Awards, but there weren’t any high numbers for gold men.
“The 80th Annual Academy Awards” telecast on Sunday night is poised to break some records: With only 32 million estimated viewers, this year’s ceremony could be the lowest-rated ever.
According to preliminary Nielsen numbers, the awards show, hosted by Jon Stewart, scored a household 17.6 rating/27 share.
In the key 18-49 demographic, the Oscars scored a record-low 10.7 rating/23 share, down 24% from last year’s 14.1/33. The previous low came in 2003, when the show reached a 12.5 rating/30 share. That year 33 million people tuned in to watch.
ABC’s coverage of the show, including the “Oscar’s Red Carpet 2008” pre-show hosted by Regis Philbin and the annual “Barbara Walters Oscar Special,” still won the night with a 15.5 household rating/27 share, beating CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW combined (14.0/21 in households).
The low rating may be indicative of the effects of the Writers Guild of America strike on Hollywood. With the strike having ended just days before the broadcast, writers scrambled to put together a full-length program, a rush that was obvious from the unusual abundance of tribute montages. Also, with the drought in original programming on prime-time television, ABC had fewer opportunities to promote the awards show.
Updated: Numbers corrected in second and fourth grafs.


  1. How about putting the blame on the films nominated as well, which aren’t exactly known to the general public. No marquee stars being nominated nor winning, plus the night was pretty predictable. Nothing strange or unusual happened nor were there any shocking water cooler upsets.
    It was boring, and thank the stars the whole awards season is over.

  2. I DVR’d it so I could fast forward through most of the lame crap to see who would win. The films I never saw or will won. The only movie I saw last year that won anything was the Bourne film. The rest I could care less about and have no intention of ever seeing. The Academy nominates the pretentious crap that the critics love and the public could care less about for the most part. So the rating will dwindle until another Titanic or Lord of the Rings comes along.

  3. How is: 17.6 rating/27 share, down 30% from last year’s 14.1/33? I may not be a math expert, but isn’t 17.6 UP 25% over 14.1. And while share of apparently more homes watching TV is down, isn’t it down just 18%?

  4. I like to tune in to see the real stars… and with all the Hollywood royalty in the seats they pick “The Rock” as a presenter?
    I know the network doesn’t care about anyone over thirty, but let’s get back to seeing the real box office kings. And get rid of those ridiculous pre-packaged segments about how the votes are counted.
    Hard to believe Jon Stewart could be so boring. That clip of Johnny Carson shows how fare the show has fallen.
    The one high point… Celine Dion didn’t sing anything.

  5. It was a snoozer. I like Regis and it looked like he was stretching for commentary. Didn’t feel exciting at all. Loved the year that Ben and Matt won for Best Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Bring that kind of enthusiasm back to the awards.

  6. I would have watched, but I was turned off by the interminable hype and the herds of nobodies paraded in front of the cameras.
    TIME mag had it right: George Clooney, the “last movie star.”

  7. Jeff, math isn’t your problem it may be your reading/comprhension that is suspect. The 17.6/27 was the Household rating/share, whereas the 14.1/33 was last years Persons 18-49 rating/share. So in any event, the numbers are down.

  8. Far from an expert re: the ratings game, but as a consumer, this year’s Academy Awards, was horribly produced.
    + the intro, which was hyped by the producers prior to the show, was completely stupid, & uninspiring.
    + John Stewart absolutely sucks/sucked as a MC. He just wasn’t funny, & rarely is. His intro of Harrison Ford (as either a big Hollywood star or a car dealership) was utterly pathetic.
    + Most, but not all the songs/entertainment sucked. The black choir was the best, but the couple that won the award, was horrible, IMHO.
    + Most of the background videos were pretty bad.
    I dunno. Blame the WGA strike, but this year’s Oscars are the most forgettable in years. Poor ratings is no surprise.

  9. Jon Stewart is not a draw in my book. He does have his collection of fans, but he is not mass appeal for a program of this type. The writers strike might be an excuse for people staying with the show. But, that doesn’t have much to do with people tuning into the program.

  10. The single most disappointing award was Best Original Song. With all the entertaining music in August Rush, Enchanted and Hairspray … why in the world was that lousy, uninspiring ballad from “Once” (whatever that was) even nominated?

  11. The low ratings might be explained by the fact that many viewers (finally) realised that the Oscars are not rewarded on merit. Instead they are dominated by homophobia and all round bad taste. When you hear that voting members such as Tony Curtis refuse to watch nominated films because they don’t like the gay content you begin to wonder whats the point of watching a flawed ceremony and unfair show. I think the Oscars should be scrapped….Million Dollar Baby, Forest Gump, Terms of Endearment and Chicago all won ‘Best Picture’…I rest my case!

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