The 2024 Oscars a big hit with viewers

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Academy Awards for the fourth time Sunday night. (AP)

Ratings surge despite earlier start time, change to Daylight Savings Time

In an era where ratings for almost everything outside of sports are declining, the early numbers for the 96th Annual Academy Awards are certainly encouraging.

According to Nielsen estimates, the Oscars drew 19.5 million viewers – up four percent from last year’s telecast and the highest numbers since the February 9, 2020 show – a month before the world shut down due to the pandemic. In the adult 18-49 demo, the show earned a 3.81 rating, down five percent from the 4.0 earned last year. The Oscars peaked in the final half-hour at 21.9 million viewers.

The viewership increase for the Oscars was a bit of a surprise, despite the earlier start time (6 p.m. Central, 4 p.m. Pacific, and 1 p.m. in Hawaii!) and the start of Daylight Savings Time in the United States, where ratings for prime-time and prime access (6 to 8 p.m.) shows often take a hit this time of year due to viewers adjusting their schedules and the extra hour of sunlight.

Another factor was two box-office hits released simultaneously last summer  – Oppenheimer and Barbie – were nominated for numerous awards, including Best Picture. The Oscars were the highest-rated award show so far this year, topping the Grammys by 14 percent and the strike-delayed Emmys by a whopping 333 percent, according to ABC.

As for the show, it did start a few minutes late due to traffic problems near the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles – a minus for Red Carpet shows on ABC and E! But the program ran very smoothly and ended at 9:25 p.m. Central, right on schedule as opposed to years past, when the show overran as much as an hour – a point Jimmy Kimmel joked about in his monologue, which explains why he’s hosted the Oscars for a fourth time – a huge improvement over the disastrous hosting stints we saw in the early 2010s.

The best parts were John Cena appeared, um… naked on stage (with a well-placed Oscar winner card); Kimmel going rogue when he read Donald Trump’s scathing review in real-time to the crowd; and of course, the wonderful Ken production number, featuring Barbie star Ryan Gosling singing the Oscar-nominated song I’m Just Ken (the winner was What Was I Made For from the same movie. ) The musical number was a big hit on social media.


Aside from the earlier start time, the only downside was the speeches made by past winners toward each Oscar nominee of individual awards (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, etc.) It didn’t impact the running time of the show, so it’s all good.

Overall, the 96th annual Academy Awards were nice – and controversy-free for the most part as no one came up on stage and slapped anybody.

Meanwhile, the critically acclaimed sitcom Abbott Elementary filled the first-ever post-Oscars time slot. Airing live in all time zones, Abbott drew 6.9 million viewers and a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demo – a series high in both metrics. Now in its third season, Abbott airs Wednesday nights, generally finishing first or second in its time slot.

[Editor’s Note: In an earlier draft, the source linked from an article containing an incorrect viewership increase figure was removed and replaced with one with the correct numbers. For more, see comments below.]


4 thoughts on “The 2024 Oscars a big hit with viewers

    • Where did you get up 37% up from last year’s telecast? Yes, this year’s Oscars did draw 19.5 million viewers but it was only an 4% increase from the 18.8 million viewers from last year’s show. Also, in the important adults 18-49 demo, the show was down 5% from last year. Many websites (Variety, etc.) have confirmed this. The Oscars will never get back to 2014 levels (43.7mil viewers) or even 2019 levels, just five years ago (30mil viewers).

      • The numbers came from Broadcasting & Cable (which the 19.5 million is underlined and linked), but I’ll double check.

      • Did the math myself and it is 4 percent, like you said. Not sure where they got the 37 percent from, plus did not list last year’s numbers. Thanks for pointing it out. Did not write an Oscar ratings article last year, so I did not have easy access to last year’s numbers.

    • Alright, cool. Maybe Broadcasting & Cable used Steiner Math? 😉 (It’s a famous & hilarious pro wrestling & YouTube clip with Scott “Big Pappa Pump” Steiner.)

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