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Oscars sees rating bump as slap reverberates worldwide

Associated Press/Chris Pizzello

The Oscars reportedly saw a ratings boost after suffering record low viewership last year, with Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the awards show dominating headlines the day after the ceremony.

The 94th annual Academy Awards on ABC drew 16.62 million viewers on Sunday, according to final same-day Nielsen ratings cited by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

ABC had reported a day earlier that its fast national ratings averaged 15.36 million total viewers. Those stats would mark a 56 percent jump over last year’s Oscars audience, according to the network.

While the show topped last year’s record-low Oscars viewership, it was the second-least-watched Academy Awards according to Nielsen’s stats.

ABC’s preliminary numbers — which could change after factoring in time zone and out-of-home viewing adjustments — are an uptick over the ratings nosedive last year, when just 9.85 million viewers reportedly tuned in for the Hollywood ceremony.

In separate viewership numbers from Samba TV shared with ITK, the digital measurement company found that ratings for the Oscars telecast were up 32 percent year over year.

“Even before the slap heard around the world drew huge attention to the Oscars, it was clear this year‘s awards show was on track to outperform last year’s ceremony,” Cole Strain, Samba TV’s head of measurement, said in a statement.

The 2021 Oscars, held amid the coronavirus pandemic, were the least watched in the show’s history and led to former President Trump mocking the annual event.

“What used to be called The Academy Awards, and now is called the ‘Oscars’ — a far less important and elegant name — had the lowest Television Ratings in recorded history, even much lower than last year, which set another record low,” Trump said in a statement at the time.

“Go back 15 years, look at the formula they then used, change the name back to THE ACADEMY AWARDS, don’t be so politically correct and boring, and do it right,” Trump said.

Sunday’s ceremony was rocked by a shocking moment when Smith slapped Rock onstage after the comedian joked about the “King Richard” star’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth!” the 53-year-old actor was heard screaming at Rock after the altercation.

—Updated Tuesday at 12:35 p.m.

Tags Academy Awards Chris Rock Donald Trump Oscars oscars slap Oscars smack Will Smith

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