Sunday (March 8) night’s Academy Awards telecast was the most watched Oscars in five years, according to ABC and Nielsen.
The Oscars averaged 41.3 million viewers and did a 13.1 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. That was up by five million viewers overall and by 8 percent in the demo.
ABC boasts that this was TV’s most-watched entertainment telecast — apparently the Super Bowl is sports and therefore not “entertaining” — since the Oscars in 2005.
That 2005 telecast, hosted by Chris Rock and toasting “Million Dollar Baby,” was already down significantly from the 2004 show featuring “Return of the King” as Best Picture winner. As a point of comparison, the 1998 coronation of “Titanic” drew more than 55 million viewers, a number that even a possible “Avatar” win couldn’t approach.
In that strange measurement system that records the number of viewers who watched six-or-more minutes of the telecast, the Oscars reached 70 million unique television viewers.
The Oscars still remain the Mercedes-Benz of the award show road race. The 2009 Emmys averaged 13.5 million viewers, while the 2010 Golden Globes (17 million) and 2010 Grammys (25.9 million) also lagged.
ABC also got positive returns for the Red Carpet pre-show, which drew 25.1 million viewers and for the final “Barbara Walters Special,” which attracted 15 million nostalgic viewers for its largest audience since 2002.