Oscars 2023 Ratings Increases Viewership By 2 Million After Will Smith’s Slap


Following Will Smith’s notorious slap on Chris Rock last year, viewership for the Oscars 2023 broadcast soared this year.


According to an ABC press release citing preliminary Nielsen figures, the 95th Academy Awards broadcast, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, drew an average audience of 18.7 million total viewers and a 4.0 rating among adults 18 to 49. This represents a 12% increase in total viewers over previous year’s tally of 16.7 million.


According to the press release, the Oscars telecast outperformed the Grammys on CBS (12.5 million viewers) in February and the Emmys on NBC (5.9 million viewers) in September. The Golden Globes, which returned to NBC after a year away, drew 6.3 million viewers in January.


The Oscars were up against the season one conclusion of HBO’s smash The Last of Us, which, according to Variety, set a new series high in terms of ratings: The ninth episode drew an estimated 8.2 million viewers.


While this year’s numbers are a three-year high, they remain among the lowest in Academy Awards history.


According to Variety, the highest numbers came in 1998, when James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic won Best Picture with 55.3 million viewers. The last time the show attracted more than 20 million viewers was in 2020, when Parasite won Best Picture, with 23.6 million tuning in.


Deadline reported that the lowest ratings came in 2021 when there was no host, and 10.4 million tuned in.


Oscars producer and showrunner Glenn Weiss told The Hollywood Reporter after the show Sunday night what his hopes were for the ratings tallies.


“You know what, you can only hope. What we wanted to do was go out and execute a show that people would really like and a show people would talk about,” he said. “We think we did accomplish that. I sure hope that [Monday] delivers good news in the ratings front, but either way, I think it was a successful evening.”


Weiss added that he is proud of “the whole night” and praised Kimmel, 55, who hosted for his third time.


“First of all, I thought Jimmy did a great job. He kept the show moving, but he also kept it lighthearted and entertaining enough that it didn’t feel all too serious,” he said. “The winners throughout the night really took us on a ride. Just when we thought it was going one way, then it went another way. The speeches were passionate and from the heart.”

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