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Oscars Viewership Jumps 58% With Nearly 17 Million Watching

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall host the Academy Awards
(Image credit: ABC)

Fully 16.6 million total viewers watched the Academy Awards March 27 on ABC. That’s a 58% gain over last year’s 10.5 million viewers, which was a record low. 

The broadcast delivered a 3.8 rating among viewers 18-49, per Nielsen National Live+Same Day ratings, 73% better than 2021’s 2.2 score. 

Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes hosted the 94th Oscars, following three years of a hostless event. The last three-host Oscars was 1987, with Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan.

Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock got the headline March 27. Smith came onstage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith apologized on Instagram a day later.

The slap happened at 10:27 p.m. ET. Some 16.8 million viewers were watching in the moments before the dust-up, and 17.4 million in the moments after. 

Smith later got the best actor Oscar for his role in tennis biopic King Richard, in which he plays the father of Venus and Serena Williams. Jessica Chastain got best actress for her work in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. 

Coda won best picture. 

Will Packer produced the telecast. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.