Oscar 2006: Good Ratings for Oscar Show

Feb 26, 2007–The 2007 Oscar telecast gained about a million viewers, compared with the previous year. After both the most recent Golden Globes and Grammy shows delivered year-to-year ratings gains, ABC's coverage of the 79th annual Academy Awards came in as the season's most-watched entertainment telecast.

Even though American viewers were unfamiliar with many of the nominated films and the top awards were handed out after midnight ET, an average Stateside audience of 39.9 million viewers watched Sunday's Oscars, up over the 38.9 million for last year's show, which had stood as the second-smallest audience in 18 years.

The only other year since 1988 in which the Oscar Awards failed to average 40 million viewers came in 2003. The year in which “Chicago” took the top prize produced the smallest audience for the show (33 million).

While the 39.9 million makes it the TV season's biggest draw (excluding sports), Oscar's showing among adults 18-49 (14.0 rating, repping 18.3 million viewers in the age bracket) ranks fourth, behind three episodes of Fox's “American Idol.”

This year's 14.0 preliminary 18-49 rating is up a tick from last year's 13.9 and down 7% from two years ago (15.1). But in adults 18-34, the kudocast was up 8% year to year (12.9 to 12.0) for its best score in five years.

The Ellen Degenerees Factor

Host Ellen Degeneres especially boosted female viewership, with this year's 16.2 rating among women 18-34, a big 15% increase over last year's 14.1.

Looking at the local markets, Chicago set the pace with a 36.0 rating/54 share, followed by San Francisco (35.3/57), New York (33.9/52), Los Angeles (29.9/47) and San Diego (29.8/45). San Francisco saw the biggest year-to-year gains, rising 11% (from 31.8/57).

Final national ratings for the Oscars, as well as the Barbara Walters special and 30-minute “Countdown to Oscars” special that also aired on ABC, will be issued by Nielsen today.

The highest-rated counter-programming Sunday came from an original episode of “The Amazing Race” on CBS (2.9/6 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall). Almost everything else on the broadcasts webs was a repeat.

On cable, E! again scored with its “Live From the Red Carpet” show from 6 to 8 p.m. ET. Special, featuring Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana DePandi, averaged a 3.94 household rating in Nielsen's metered-market overnights, up 47% over last year's 2.81.

This reps one of the net's Nielsen perfs to date, easily topping the pre-shows this year for the Golden Globes (2.07), Grammys (1.86) and SAG Awards (1.35 million).