Like most live television events in the streaming age, the Oscars did indeed ebb again this year. The live, 90th-anniversary ceremony attracted an average audience of 26.5 million total viewers, based on Nielsen’s ratings, hitting a nine-year low after four consecutive years of decline. It was down 19% from last year’s 32.9 million viewers and dipped below 2008’s all-time low of 32 million viewers.
However, ABC readily pointed out that it led the prime-time ratings Sunday, and the telecast out-performed the other key award shows of the season, namely the Grammys on CBS and Golden Globe Awards on NBC.
Meanwhile, Kimmel’s “lowest rated” label for Trump needs some qualification too. No. 45 did end his first year in office with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president at that point in their first term, according to an Associated Press analysis.
But more sober-minded historians haven’t included Trump in the “lowest” ranks yet, since he’s only one year into his presidency, so it’s a tad premature.
Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush ended up lower than where Trump is today; both of them were quite a bit higher than Trump is at this point in their terms.
Trump, who’s managed to turn his Twitter feed into a sort of must-see TV, didn’t keep quiet about the Oscars last year either. The president blamed Hollywood’s obsession with him for contributing to Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty’s botched 2017 best picture announcement.
The Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau chief David Lauter contributed to this report.