The audience that tuned into the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night was the lowest in the event's recorded history.
Only 26.5 million viewers tuned into the Oscars last night, down 22 percent from last year's figure of 32.9 million, Deadline reported. The initial numbers from Nielsen Media Research revealed that only 18.9 percent of the households in major media markets tuned into the program, a 16 point drop from last year's initial rating of 22.4 percent.
Many cite the lack of nominated box-office blockbuster films and changing television watching habits–a shift to watching content online rather than live–as reasons for falling ratings. Nielsen’s early ratings do not include digital and mobile viewership, but ABC only allowed viewers with cable subscriptions or live-TV streaming subscriptions to to watch Sunday's broadcast.
The ratings do not bode especially well for the Jimmy Kimmel, who served as the master of ceremonies for Sunday night's show. Kimmel was also the master of ceremonies last year when viewership sunk to a nine-year low.
Up until now, Jon Stewart had the infamous designation of hosting the lowest-watched Oscar ceremony of all time in 2008 when only 32 million people tuned into the show. Some critics have drawn parallels between Stewart, a noted left of center commentator and late night host, and Kimmel, who has become more outspoken on politics and critical of President Donald Trump since 2016.