Friday, June 21, 2024

Reversal of Fortune: Oscars Ratings Ate into “Last of Us” HBO Finale Instead of the Other Way Around


The biggest surprise on Sunday night didn’t come from the winners of the Oscars. It came from the ratings.

There was a lot of worry that the season finale of “The Last of Us” on HBO would draw viewers away from the awards show. As it turned out, it was the other way around.

The Oscars had almost 19 million viewers in total, a big success in the comeback from pre-pandemic levels. The show was very well produced and hosted, and executed with real panache. For the time in recent memory, the Academy Awards were fun to watch.

Meanwhile, on HBO, the final episode of season 1 of “The Last of Us” scored just over 1 million viewers on the main channel. This was on a par with the last few episodes. There was no last minute surge, although HBO says another 7 million people watched on the unmonitored HBO Max, etc. But for those just watching TV and cable, “The Last of Us” reached a plateau. (I haven’t seen it yet, don’t spoil it for me.)

As a result of the head to head competition, the Oscars may have tamped down real time viewing of “The Last of Us.” Ain’t that a kick in the pants? You never know what’s going to happen around here! Of course, plenty of people will be catching up with the HBO series this week, and its return for a 2nd season maybe in 2024, will be huge.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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