UPDATED: *According to news reports, ratings for the 2007 Oscars improved a little over last year’s telecast. An average of 39.9 million people watched the 79th annual Academy Awards on ABC last night. That’s an improvement of 1 million viewers over last year’s Oscar telecast. The show ran about 3 hours and 50 minutes — the longest Oscarcast since the 2002 show, which stretched over 4 hours. Despite the ratings bump over last season, it still fell a couple million viewers short of the ’04 and ’05 Academy Awards shows. ABC is also trumpeting improved ratings among younger viewers. The benchmark adults 18-49 rating for this year’s show was 14.0, up just a tenth of a point from last year’s 13.9. In the smaller group of adults 18-34, though, the awards improved from 12.0 in 2006 to 12.9 Sunday, the best in that demographic since 2002. Ratings in all the adult-women demos were up too. The 39.9 million viewer average makes the Oscars the most-watched entertainment broadcast of this season. The season premiere of American Idol, at 37.4 million, was the previous leader. ABC says about 74.8 million people watched at least six minutes of the broadcast. Cut that down to one minute, and the number rises to 87 million….*
I still hope this doesn’t encourage the Academy to repeat this year’s production: early results show better ratings for this year’s Oscars. According to news reports, Nielsen Media Research is out with the overnight ratings in the top 55 markets. They find a 2% improvement over last year’s ceremonies. According to Nielsen, the ABC show pulled a 27.7 rating in the big cities. (Each ratings point represents about 1.1 million households.) The program also got a 42 share, which in TV lingo refers to the percentage of sets that were on last night and tuned to the Oscars. A year ago, the show was seen across the country by 38.8 million people. It was only the second time in the past two decades that it dipped below 40 million. I have a feeling, when the full Nielsen stats come in, this year’s Oscars will show a decline in viewership.