Here is the naked truth about Sunday night’s 96th Annual Academy Awards: ratings were up.

Bell Media credited native son Ryan Gosling’s “big Canadian Kenergy” for boosting CTV’s coverage of the Oscars to an average audience of 3.5 million viewers. That makes it the most-watched English entertainment broadcast of the year according to Numeris, with the data company showing it up four per cent with total (ages two and up) viewers over last year.

In the key to advertisers demo of adults 25 to 54, viewership was up even sharper at 12 per cent in Canada.

In the US, the early national numbers show an audience of 19.5 million viewers, the third consecutive year of growth and Kimmel’s second in a row as host. The 2023 tally was 18.7 million. Still to come this year are the viewers who saved the show on their PVR’s and watched later, an addition that is sure to send the final total over 20 million.

Why the uptick? The general rule of thumb is that the more blockbusters are among the front runners, and “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” were both billion-dollar draws, the more viewers watch the Oscars. Back in 1997, box office smash “Titanic” set the TV audience record with over 57 million watching on ABC alone. This was, of course, before streaming, back when broadcast was dominant.

It also helped, I think, that the awards show started an hour earlier than usual, finishing in the 10 o’clock hour instead of closer to midnight. More viewers are awake, basically.


That the show was fun and entertaining pretty much throughout helped. Viewing levels peaked at close to 22 million in the final half hour — or past Donald Trump’s “jail time” as host Jimmy Kimmel cracked.

As recently as 2021, Oscar viewership plummeted to just 10.4 million. There were few big films that year with COVID shutting down cinemas, studios and just generally all around interest in glamour and Hollywood.

Write A Comment