Oscars drop to all-time low of 26.5 million viewers

A comparatively uneventful Oscar telecast led the way on TV Sunday night -- though updated numbers have the telecast somewhat predictably stumbling to an all-time low.

The telecast, nearly four hours long, stumbled 19 percent from the previous year to 26.5 million viewers. That's easily the least-watched Oscars in history, trailing 2008 by more than 5 million.  Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Compared to the same stat for 2017, the night the wrong best picture winner was named, that was down a more modest 16 percent. 

The 2017 Academy Awards, which earned a 22.4 overnight rating, ultimately fetched 32.9 million viewers for ABC -- as well as a handsome 9.1 rating among adults 18-49. Still, those numbers reflected the second-lowest in Academy history. (ABC did not immediately report the adults 18-49 rating for Sunday's Oscars, and Nielsen won't widely distribute that information until Tuesday.)

12 PHOTOS
Prettiest gowns at the 2018 Oscars
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Prettiest gowns at the 2018 Oscars

Allison Williams in Armani Privé Couture

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Gina Rodriguez in Zuhair Murad

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Zendaya in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture

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Viola Davis in Michael Kors

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Jennifer Garner in Versace

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Margot Robbie in Chanel Haute Couture

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Jennifer Lawrence in Dior

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Gal Gadot in Givenchy Couture

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Greta Gerwig in Giorgio Armani

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Lupita Nyong'o in Versace

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Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein

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Sandra Bullock in Louis Vuitton

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The night was not as political as many recent award shows, with showings of partisanship few and far between. The fallout and response to the exposure of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry was an obvious through line -- and honorees like best actress winner Frances McDormand made stands for inclusivity and representation in the industry. Host Jimmy Kimmel seems to have earned praise for another solid performance during his second consecutive year on stage.

But the writing was largely on the wall for lows, either way. All three marquee events of the U.S. TV calendar thus far -- the Golden Globe Awards, the Grammys and the Super Bowl -- were off significantly from the 2017.

At three hours and 50 minutes, Sunday's Oscars may have only passed last year's runtime by one minute, but it managed to rank as the longest telecast in over a decade. Not since 2007 has an Academy Awards ceremony lasted that long.

And it wasn't exactly a night of box office sloucher nominees. Though top winner The Shape of Water ($57 million domestic to date) hasn't exactly been a runaway hit, it certainly outpaced 2017's winner Moonlight ($28 million) and actually ranks as the top-grossing bestpicture winner in five years. And Dunkirk, the only other film to nab more than two wins on Sunday, took $188 million at the domestic box office -- just a little more than Get Out, which was up in multiple categories and saw a writing win for scribe-director Jordan Peele.

Here's a look at the last 10 Oscars. 

  • 2017: 32.9 million viewers

  • 2016: 34.4 million viewers
  • 
2015: 37.3 million viewers
  • 
2014: 43.7 million viewers
  • 
2013: 40.4 million viewers
  • 
2012: 39.5 million viewers

  • 2011: 37.9 million viewers
  • 
2010: 41.6 million viewers
  • 
2009: 36.9 million viewers

  • 2008: 31.8 million viewers*

13 PHOTOS
2018 Oscars: Worst Dressed
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2018 Oscars: Worst Dressed
Kelly Ripa's multicolored mess was one of the most talked-about outfits on the red carpet -- but not in a good way. But we do love her pinup waves!
Salma Hayek's sparkling lilac gown had a whole lot going on -- sequins, lace, crystals, and tiers! A simpler version of this dress would have been a smarter choice.
St. Vincent's skin-baring ensemble certainly wasn't fit for the Academy Awards, but then again, we're not sure of anywhere else it would belong, either.

Jennifer Lawrence's metallic gown wasn't her worst look ever, but it didn't do her any favors.

We like Emma Stone's silk pantsuit, but it just didn't make sense at the most formal night of the year. Maybe an updo instead of her pin-straight bob would have added some elegance.

Maya Rudolph took a style risk with this one, and while it's hard to go wrong with modesty, we're not sure what drew her to this flamin' red outfit.

She gets points for creativity! But Haley Bennett's textured gown looked a bit too much like a forest floor for the Academy Awards.

Emily Blunt's dress is lovely, and we don't hate it -- but long waves and lighter makeup would have been a better execution of these Queen Elsa vibes.

Whoopi Goldberg is never one to opt for the predictable! Although we love that she always does her own thing, it might be the sunglasses that really take this one over the edge.
Andra Day was swimming in fabric -- is she wearing a comforter?
Gal Gadot always nails it on the red carpet, so we had high expectations for the Oscars. Unfortunately, she was underwhelming in this gunmetal gown.
Elisabeth Moss' pink dress was a bit too predictable. Go bold, Elisabeth! Try something new!
'The View' host Sara Haines is lovely, but her tea-length asymmetrical number just didn't say 'Oscars.'
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This story was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter. 

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