Oscars 2022: Show’s Telecast Rebounds From Historic Lows, but Still Disappointing

Oscar Telecast Rebounds From Historic Lows, but Still Disappointing

The audience for ABC’s broadcast grows slightly versus 2021 but still trails previous years by a sizable margin.


The 94th Academy Awards drew a bigger audience than they did in last year’s least watched Oscar ceremony ever.

Sunday’s show, however, is still well below past years as both TV viewing and moviegoing have gone through radical changes.

ABC’s broadcast of the Oscars drew 13.73 million viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, based on fast national ratings from Nielsen.

Those figures aren’t adjusted for the live broadcast across the country, nor do they include the portion of the show that aired after 11 p.m. ET or out of home viewing. Time zone adjustments that factor in the live telecast should be available later Monday, and final same-day ratings, including out of home viewing, will be out Tuesday morning. Live telecasts typically (though not always) see their ratings adjust upward after those elements are factored in.


Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich with Timothee Chalamet.
LADY GAGA and LIZA MINNELLI on stage at the 94th Oscars.

The early figures put Sunday’s show ahead of the final numbers from last year’s scaled-down ceremony, which had all-time low of 10.4 million viewers and 2.12 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

The early figures show a 32 percent jump in total viewers and a 37 percent bump in adults 18-49.

The Oscars join several other awards shows in stopping steep ratings declines from the 2020-21 season — though none have reached anywhere near the heights of pre-pandemic viewing.

The Emmys and SAG Awards both had sizable gains over their last outings, and the CMA Awards and American Music Awards (both on ABC) were either steady or up over last year.

Sunday’s Oscars will go down as the second least watched since Nielsen began tracking total viewers in the mid-1970s.

Prior last year the audience had never fallen below 20 million viewers.

ABC’s telecast generated huge reaction on social media when Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

That came about two thirds of the way through the 3 hour, 40 minute ceremony, by which time the audience had been with the show for some 2 1/2 hours. (Data from analytics company Samba TV shows the audience for the Oscars peaking about an hour earlier.)