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Social media explodes during Oscars; TV viewership doesn't

94th Academy Awards - Show
Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 09:38:35-04

NEW YORK (AP)  — Will Smith's violent slap of Chris Rock during the Academy Awards ceremony had no appreciable difference on the size of the ABC broadcast's television audience.

But social media is a different story.

ABC said there were some 22.7 million social media interactions during the telecast, the most ever on Oscars night and more than double what it was in 2021.

The network says Oscar videos notched 16 million views on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, also a record for the show.

The telecast as a whole drew 16.6 million viewers, the Associated Press reported.

Overall viewership for the Academy Awards was up 58 percent from 2021, a diminished pandemic-era ceremony.

But it was down 30% from the Oscars telecast of 2020, which garnered 23.6 million viewers.

The AP reported that 17.3 million viewers tuned in during the time the incident between Smith and Rock occurred.

It dipped to 16.8 million before rising to 17.4 million during the time Smith won for best actor, the AP reported.

There were a lot of historic firsts Sunday, including Ariana DeBose becoming the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar and Apple TV+'s "CODA" being crowned best picture.

But that was all overshadowed by Smith slapping Rock for a joke the comic made about the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

The Oscars were the most-watched program for the week of March 21-27, followed by the Arkansas vs. Duke basketball game with 10.34 million viewers and the St. Peter’s vs. Purdue college basketball game, which had 10.18 million viewers, the AP reported.