Despite one of the most highly anticipated opening monologues in Oscars history, and a controversy that just wouldn't go away, the 88th Annual Academy Awards failed to live up to past expectations. And when it comes to live ratings, the telecast hit an 8-year low. This despite the fact that host Chris Rock came out swinging, holding his momentum throughout the night, and Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first ever Oscar for Best Actor.

The 88th Annual Academy Awards took the diversity issue head-on, addressing the #OscarsSoWhite campaign right out of the gate. And some big surprises kept the show humming. But Oscars 2016 is going down in the record books as one of the lowest rated telecasts in recent memory, with a 23.1/37 in metered market results. This was an 8 year low for the awards show, which is coming up on its 90th Anniversary.

Ratings for the 88th Annual Academy Awards were down 6% from last year's ceremony, which pulled in 24.6/39 from 56 markets across the U.S. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 2015 Oscars, tying with the 2011 telecast for third lowest rated Academy Awards since Chris Rock last hosted the ceremony back in 2005. Only the 2009 show hosted by Hugh Jackman and the 2008 show hosted by Jon Stewart were lower. The 88th Annual Academy Awards dipped below both the 2008 and 2009 ratings numbers.

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Chris Rock's 2005 hosting gig brought in the biggest ratings The Academy Awards has seen in the past decade with a 30.1/43 MM rating. That year, Million Dollar Baby took home best picture, with the show pulling in 42.14 million viewers. Chris Rock's latest hosting gig was down 23%, which is a huge decline in viewership. The show averaged a 13.5/7 among adults 18-49 according to Nielsen, dropping 3% since the 2015 Oscars.

Last year's Academy Award telecast brought in 37.3 million total viewers and an 11.0/26 rating in its key demographic. The total numbers for 88th Annual Academy Awards are not in yet, so it's not known how many millions of viewers ultimately tuned in. We'll be sure to update you as more information arrives. Did you watch?

B. Alan Orange