The Screen Actors Guild Awards pulled an exceptionally solid crowd, at least by SAG standards, Sunday night.
With a combined 3.9 million viewers tuning in to the live telecast, shared on Turner networks TNT and TBS, the acting kudos climbed 50 percent from last year’s outing — which aired on a Saturday. Among both total viewers and adults 18-49, where the show averaged a combined 1.2 rating, the SAG Awards were Sunday’s biggest cable effort outside of ESPN’s coverage of the Pro Bowl.
Compared to the last Sunday telecast, the SAG Awards were virtually even.
Airing on cable, and typically not the source of as much chatter as bigger award shows, the SAG Awards typically pull modest returns. But the significant year-over-year improvement is another dose of potentially good news for February’s Academy Awards telecast. The Oscars have been subject to negative ratings headlines in recent years, but the SAG lift follows a boosted (albeit modestly) outing for the Golden Globe Awards on TV.
The ratings lift for SAG is perhaps less surprising given the surplus of attention around this year’s event. Most winners chose to spend their time on stage decrying (both subtly and unsubtly) the week in office for president and Apprentice executive producer Donald Trump — particularly his commitment to building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and his recent immigration ban on people and refugees coming in from several majority-Muslim countries.
Several other guild awards remain, but it will be nearly a month before the next big TV telecasts — with the Independent Spirit Awards airing Feb. 25 and the Oscars set for the following day, Feb. 26.