If Hollywood gave a free event out for America, would it watch? That question was asked and answered at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, which was made free on YouTube and nearly no one watched anyway.
In fact, the star-studded Screen Actors Guild Awards that aired on Sunday night barely managed to draw in 1.5 million viewers. That’s a precipitous plummet from last year’s ceremony, which about 1.8 million people watched.
That collapse in viewership would be bad enough on its own, but the real issue was that the SAG event on Sunday was made free on YouTube, with no ads, and still no one watched. Last year’s event, by comparison, was aired solely on two cable channels, TBS and TNT. So even with the switch to free to watch and putting it on a more accessible platform, ratings for the woke SAG event got crushed.
Variety notes that the numbers might be somewhat less terrible than they initially appear, as YouTube counts views differently than Nielsen and so the comparison isn’t really an apples-to-apples one. In that outlet’s words:
The way YouTube counts overall video views is different from the way Nielsen tabulates TV viewing metrics, so that is not an apples-to-apple comparison between this year’s SAG Awards viewership and past years. During Sunday’s livestream, the SAG Awards on YouTube averaged around 230,000-250,000 concurrent viewers across both feeds. In 2022, the kudocast drew an average 1.8 million total viewers for the simulcast on TBS and TNT; the year before that, the SAG Awards averaged 957,000 total viewers on TNT/TBS.
According to a SAG Awards rep, the 2023 SAG Awards ceremony livestream generated more than 1.5 million views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the first 12 hours. Clips of the ceremony generated an additional 19.4 million views across platforms; in addition, the SAG Awards was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter on Sunday night.
Still, the results were far from great. If the 1.5 million number that SAG gave Variety is accurate, that’s the second-lowest number of viewers in the show’s history. The worst year was 2021, when frustration with the pandemic and lack of interest in whatever Hollywood was up to meant that the show’s ratings dipped below 1 million viewers.
The SAG Awards spokesperson tried to explain away the plummet in ratings in a statement to Variety, saying “As this was a transitional year for the SAG Awards, it was broadcast on social media with Netflix and other media partners in lieu of a broadcast partner.”
Why ordinary Americans are tuning out is obvious: the show was painfully woke. At one point, for instance, the President of SAG, Fran Drescher, encouraged studios to boycott red states in the name of diversity.
Top priority of @SAGAFTRA President @FranDrescher: “The biggest joint effort of stars and studios to save the planet since World War II. Mission number one, an honor system to eliminate single-use plastic on camera, behind the scenes…” #SAGAwards pic.twitter.com/TbGDGbmFqL
— Brent Baker 🇺🇦 (@BrentHBaker) February 27, 2023
There was also the bit where Mark Wahlberg presented an award to an Asian cast, an act for which he was excoriated online because of a crime from his youth. Also, a woke actress toppled over when trying to make her way up the stairs, which was probably the most entertaining moment in the otherwise unwatchable event.
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