The Screen Actors Guild Awards shrunk to one hour this year, and despite solid critical reviews of the telecast, so did the viewership. The 27th Annual SAG Awards, which aired on Sunday, April 4, averaged 957,000 viewers on the TNT/TBS simulcast.
The Easter night telecast also averaged a 0.22 rating among adults 18-49 via both networks. The pre-taped, fast-paced show had been pushed to April due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and, actually, the Grammy Awards, which elbowed in and took the SAG Awards’ original COVID contingency reschedule for Match 14). The April 4 date was the latest in the year the SAG Awards, which launched in 1995, had ever been held.
On TBS, the viewership was 505,000 and a .11 rating in the demo; on TNT, it was 452,000 and a .11 in the demo as well.
Awards shows had faced ratings erosion before the pandemic, and have seen those dips accelerate over the past year. Throw in that holiday airdate, and it’s no surprise that the SAG Awards slumped to their smallest audience in at least a decade. Last year’s telecast, which aired on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, averaged 2 million viewers and a 0.44 rating with adults 18-49 on both TBS and TNT.
Over the past ten years, the SAG Awards peaked in 2013 with 5.2 million viewers.
This year, big winners at the SAG Awards included “The Trial of the Chicago 7” for best motion picture cast, while “The Crown” repeated its win for best TV drama ensemble and “Schitt’s Creek” was named best TV comedy ensemble.
“This year’s SAGs were short — a mere hour — but elegantly produced, once one got the hang of the ceremony,” Variety TV critic Dan D’Addario wrote in his review of the show. “There was no host, but a suite of celebrities opened the show, and went on to open up over the course of it… its tightness, between speeches, suggested a flexibility that looks good on a venerable televised franchise.”
It’s been a tough year for awards shows: The 2021 Golden Globes averaged 6.9 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, down from 18.3 million viewers and a 4.7 demo rating in 2020. And this year’s Grammys averaged 8.8 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in adults 18-49, vs. 18.7 million viewers and a 5.4 rating in the demo in 2020.
Here is how the SAG Awards has performed over the past decade in total viewers:
2020: 2 million
2019: 2.7 million
2018: 2.7 million
2017: 3.9 million
2016: 2.7 million
2015: 4 million
2014: 4.6 million
2013: 5.2 million
2012: 5.1 million
2011: 5 million