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The shape of Oscars here: Lowest rated since meters began measuring

Since the Academy Awards program on ABC Sunday was the lowest-rated in history nationally, inquiring minds want to know where the program ranked in Western New York history.

It also was lowest-rated Oscar program since meters began measuring viewing here in April 2000.

However, the 10 percent local rating decline from a year ago was lower than the national decline of 16 percent in the top 56 TV markets. Viewership, which is measured differently than ratings, nationally reportedly was down 20 percent.

The three-hour, 48-minute program had a 14.4 rating on WKBW-TV, the local ABC affiliate, down from the 16.0 rating in 2017. This year's rating on Channel 7 was much lower than the 18.9 rating the Oscars had in the top 56 markets.

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While there has been speculation that Hollywood politics and lectures in the program may have turned viewers off, Oscar ratings have fallen significantly here in the last five years. That is likely because recent award-winning films like Sunday's "The Shape of Water" haven't been blockbuster box office hits.

The highest-rated local Oscar program since 2003 was a 27.8 in 2004 when the hugely successful "Lord of the Rings" was named best picture.

The local rating dipped into the teens when "No Country for Old Men" and "Slumdog Millionaire" won best picture, respectively, in the 2008 and 2009 programs.

The highest-rated local Oscar program in the past five years was a 27.2 rating in the 2014 program when "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture and Ellen DeGeneres was the host.

The local ratings have declined significantly since then, hitting a 20.3 rating when "Birdman" won in 2015, a 17.7 rating when "Spotlight" won in 2016 and a 16.0 rating in 2017 when "Moonlight" won.

ABC tried to paint the best picture of the ratings by noting the Oscars had the highest-rated awards program nationally this year. That also was true in WNY. It barely beat the Golden Globes on WGRZ-TV (13.6) but had a bigger margin of victory on the Grammys on WIVB-TV (11.3) in January.


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