Early ratings for Sunday’s 90th Oscars on ABC suggest viewership for the annual award show may have dropped to its lowest level ever.
According to preliminary data from Nielsen, the nearly four-hour long broadcast, hosted by late night host Jimmy Kimmel, only averaged an 18.9 rating, down 16% from last year’s 22.4 rating.
Complete ratings from Nielsen are set to be released later Monday.
Last year’s show, hosted by Jon Stewart, brought in a measly 32.9 million viewers – the lowest in the history of the Academy Awards. Early numbers point to less than 22.4 million viewers for Sunday’s telecast.
The L.A. Times attributed the plunging numbers to the absence of a free online stream, a focus by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on smaller films and an alleged weariness for the #MeToo movement. The article, unsurprisingly, failed to mentioned the prevalence of disdain for Hollywood from Americans over the industry’s hypocrisy, condescension and political musings.
The award show was largely overshadowed by revelations of rampant sexual misconduct by Hollywood titans including now-disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
While Kimmel devoted parts of his opening monologue to the industry’s issues, many Americans appear to feel, given Hollywood’s near refusal to speak up decades sooner, that the gesture was too little too late.
Despite claims from some that the show would not be overtly political, Kimmel took the opportunity to jab President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and conservatives.
The ratings drop follows similar drops seen in other major televised events including the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, both of which have been highly politicized.
Numerous individuals linked to Hollywood’s sexual abuse, including famed actress Meryl Streep, a close friend of Weinstein who repeatedly defended pedophile Roman Polanski, were in attendance.
Other political issues regarding feminism and immigration were also brought up by the evening’s attendees.