Sunday’s Oscars TV ratings crashed 19% from last year to an all-time low

Helen Mirren and

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Helen Mirren and “Phantom Thread” costume designer Mark Bridges sit on the Jet Ski that Bridges won for giving the shortest Oscars acceptance speech.
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Kevin Winter/Getty

  • The 90th Academy Awards on Sunday was the least watched in Oscars history with only 26.5 million viewers.
  • That’s a 19% drop from last year’s show.

It turns out giving away a Jet Ski and surprising a theater full of people watching “A Wrinkle in Time” wasn’t enough to suck people into watching the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday. The official ratings are in and the show fell in viewers 19% from last year, with only 26.5 million watching. That’s an all-time low, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The certain doom was in the air Monday morning when overnight ratings of the ABC telecast, which didn’t wrap up until midnight eastern time, indicated that the show was down 16% from last year’s, averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. EST, according to THR.

The 2017 show, which included the best-picture fiasco, earned a 22.4 overnight rating, and ultimately had 32.9 million viewers for the night. That amounts to the second-lowest viewership in Oscars history.

The lowest rating ever for the Oscars before the 2018 edition was 2008’s, hosted by Jon Stewart, which was seen by 31.8 million viewers (that year “No Country for Old Men” won best picture).

90th Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel.

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90th Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel.
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Getty

With general audiences not interested in the favorites for best picture, and many of the major categories predetermined by Oscar pundits, this year’s show going in didn’t have much drama for the casual movie lover.

Though Jimmy Kimmel kept a steady hand with the hosting duties for a second year, his bits – including bringing stars like Gal Gadot, Emily Blunt, Mark Hamill, and Armie Hammer to surprise a theater filled with people watching Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” – weren’t that memorable.

But audiences have generally been ignoring the telecast for years. And many big-time live events have seen ratings drops recently (the Super Bowl was down 7% this year, for instance), as consumption patterns continue to migrate away from live TV.

Here are the total viewers for the Oscars since 2000, according to Programming Insider:

Total viewers for the Oscars, 2000–2017_BI Graphics

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Samantha Lee/Business Insider