The initial numbers are in, and 2018’s Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Oscars are shaping up to be the lowest rated in history.
The Wrap reported that ratings for the politically charged Academy Awards were down 15.6 percent compared to 2017, with an 18.9 rating (which represents what percentage of people watching television tuned into the ceremony). The 2017 program garnered a 22.4 rating with 32.9 million people watching.
Approximately 26.5 million tuned in this year, or a 19 percent drop, according to Deadline.
The previous all-time low in viewers was in 2008, when 31.8 million viewers tuned in, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“A comparatively uneventful Oscar telecast led the way on TV Sunday night — and early numbers have the telecast somewhat predictably stumbling to an all-time low,” the entertainment outlet wrote.
The highest-rated ceremony in the last 10 years was in 2014, when 43.7 million people watched the program. That year, “12 Years a Slave” took Best Picture and the box office hit “Gravity” staring Sandra Bullock bagged seven Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the show.
Whether Kimmel’s and Hollywood’s reputation for getting too political in the age of Donald Trump played a role in the ratings drop-off is not clear.
For those anticipating the comedian going there, Kimmel did not disappoint, taking swipes at Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
The late-night talk show host noted that actress Lupita Nyong’o (“Black Panther,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and “12 Years a Slave”) was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya and then added, “Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!”
Kimmel later observed, “We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ (about an older man beginning a sexual relations with a 17-year-old boy) to make money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
During the past year, Kimmel has targeted Republicans multiple times, taking aim at their efforts to repeal Obamacare. More recently, he has focused on the issue of gun control.
As reported by The Western Journal late last month, Kimmel retweeted a post which read, “It would be hilarious if ISIS offered the GOP a ton of money cuz there’s no way they wouldn’t take it and they’d have to start being like ‘ISIS is what makes this country great.’”
ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” has seen a ratings bump since turning more political, but it still comes in third behind “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
In an appearance on “CBS Sunday Morning” last fall, Kimmel admitted his political turn left on the air has cost him with a large segment of right-of-center viewers.
“I saw — I don’t know if it was a study or a poll or some combination of those two things — that, like, three years ago, I was equally liked by Republicans and Democrats, and then Republican numbers went way down, like, 30 percent or whatever,” he said.
Kimmel’s spokesman told The Washington Post he was referring to an online poll by YouGov that showed his favorability rating among Republicans dropped from 60 percent in the fall of 2014 to 24 percent in September 2017, while his favorability with Democrats inched up from 68 to 74 percent.
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