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Unpredictable Events Didn’t Help Oscars Ratings

February 27, 2017

89th Academy Awards - Oscars Awards Show89th Academy Awards - Oscars Awards Show
Writer and Director Barry Jenkins of "Moonlight" holds up the Best Picture Oscar in front of host Jimmy Kimmel (rear) as he stands with Producer Adele Romanski (R) at the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood. © Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

ABC’s Sunday night broadcast of the Academy Awards drew 32.9 million U.S. viewers, the smallest audience for the Oscars since 2008, according to Nielsen data released by the Walt Disney unit on Monday.

This year’s audience dropped 4% from the 2016 Oscars, which drew 34.4 million viewers. The 2008 Oscars averaged 32 million viewers.

Despite the low numbers, the Oscars are still expected to be the most-watched non-sporting event on U.S. television this year.

The decline in viewership for the Oscars breaks the streak of higher ratings for award shows in 2017 after both the Grammys and Golden Globes showed gains over last year.

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The awards ceremony went a few minutes past midnight on the East Coast and ended in controversy when La La Land was mistakenly named best picture winner after presenters were given the wrong envelope. The actual winner, announced minutes later, was Moonlight.