Academy Awards television audience plummets to 9.85 million

NEW YORK (AP) — The Nielsen company says its preliminary estimate shows the Oscars audience on ABC dipped to slightly under 10 million viewers. That’s less than half the audience for last year’s show, which was the previous smallest audience ever for the annual event. It continues the startling trend of viewer disinterest for awards shows, after the Golden Globes and Grammys both had small audiences earlier this year. With the pandemic, few movie theaters were open and television viewers apparently had little interest in movies they could mainly stream at home. The Oscars had a small in-person audience that kept social distance but did not wear masks. The show aired on ABC.