Fast Affiliate ratings are in for Sunday (February 22) night's Academy Awards telecast and the 2015 telecast was down steeply from the 2014 installment.
ABC's broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards averaged 36.6 million viewers between 8:30 and 11:48 p.m. ET, along with a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49. The 2014 Academy Awards averaged 43.7 million viewers and a 13.1 rating among adults 18-49.
The big drop for the “Birdman”-coronating telecast represented the first time the Oscars have dropped in total viewers since the 2011 telecast dropped to 37.9 million viewers off of the 41.7 million viewers averaged by the 2010 telecast. [That was the James Franco/Anne Hathaway-hosted telecast.]
This was the least-watched Oscars telecast since 2009, when “Slumdog Millionaire” won Best Picture and 36.3 million viewers tuned in. The 2008 telecast, with “No Country For Old Men” taking Best Picture and Jon Stewart hosting, bottomed out with 32 million viewers.
ABC, naturally, is preferring to accentuate the positive.
The Oscars still outdrew the Golden Globes (19.3 million and a 5.8 key demo) and the Grammys (24.8 million and an 8.3 key demo) by a wide margin, making it TV's top entertainment telecast overall since last year's Oscars.
ABC is also giddy that there were 5.9 million tweets about the Oscars, peaking with 60,044 tweets at 11:21 ET as folks sounded off — ABC says “applauded,” but anybody on Twitter knows that's not exclusively the case — Lady Gaga's “Sound of Music” performance.
The 90-minute “Oscar's Red Carpet Live” show built from 13.7 million viewers in its first half-hour to 24.3 million viewers in the 8 p.m. half-hour.
The 10th Annual “Kimmel: After the Oscars” drew 5.81 million viewers, its second largest overall performance.
So who do we point to as the scapegoats for the big audience drop?
Host Neil Patrick Harris?
The Academy for nominating movies that, for the most part, audiences didn't care about?
Oscars bloggers for covering the race so exhaustively that no surprises remained?
Hollywood for having apparently become liberal between last year and this year?
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron?