ABC's 89th Annual Academy Awards Are Second Least-Viewed in History

by Paige Albiniak  |  02.27.2017

The 89th annual Academy Awards were pretty much a routine affair … until they weren’t.

It’s one for the history books now, but to review: At the very end, after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had handed the final trophy to La La Land for best picture as everyone had expected, and the speeches were all but concluded, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz shouted out, “No, I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture. This is not a joke,” as chaos erupted on stage all around him.

That final moment of mishap and mayhem ended up with Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins giving a rushed speech, and Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel stepping in to take blame that everyone knew was not his. 

“I knew I would end up screwing this up,” joked Kimmel, who proved to be a highly capable and consistently funny Oscars emcee.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough to save the show’s ratings. This year’s Oscars were the second-least viewed in history with 32.9 million viewers, down 4 percent from 2016 when the telecast averaged 34.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The least-viewed Oscars came in 2008 with 31.9 million viewers. 

That said, the ratings may change when live-plus-three day ratings come in and when streaming numbers are added. 

The show also ran long, coming in just under four hours, which is the longest runtime in a decade. 

Still, live events such as the Oscars and the Super Bowl remain broadcast TV’s biggest draws. ABC earned a reported $115-plus million on the night. ABC has contracted with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to air the show through 2028.

READ MORE: The Hollywood Reporter, The Washington Post, Reuters

[Image courtesy of ABC]

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