UPDATE: Seth MacFarlane-Hosted Oscars Watched By 40.3M, Up From 2012

UPDATE, 1:55 PM: The 85th Oscars had 40.3 million viewers last night in Live+Same Day ratings. Sunday’s Seth MacFarlane-hosted ceremony on ABC slipped ahead of the 39.3 million that watched last year’s telecast, when Billy Crystal returned to headline the show that saw the Hollywood-based mainly silent film The Artist win Best Picture. Not only did this year’s Oscarcast see its viewership go up by 3% compared with 2012, but it rose 11% in the adults 18-49 demo with a 13.0 rating — the 2012 show got a 11.7 rating. Sunday’s show did not beat out the recent viewership record of the 2004 Oscars, which garnered an audience of 43.5 million, but it was the most-watched Academy Awards since the 41.3 million who tuned in back in 2010. Here are some historical data for Oscar viewership on ABC over the past decade or so, along with the Best Picture winner for each year:

2013 40.3 million Argo
2012 39.3 million The Artist
2011 37.9 million The King’s Speech
2010 41.3 million The Hurt Locker
2009 36.3 million Slumdog Millionaire
2008 32.0 million No Country For Old Men
2007 40. 2 million The Departed
2006 38.9 million Crash
2005 42.1 million Million Dollar Baby
2004 43.5 million Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King
2003 33.0 million Chicago
2002 41.8 million A Beautiful Mind
2001 42.9 million Gladiator

Related: Nikki Finke’s 2013 Oscars Live Snark

PREVIOUSLY, 6:24 AM: With host Seth MacFarlane, a Best Picture win for Argo and a lot of music, last night’s Oscars were up from the 2012 show. In fact, the 85th Oscars saw the ABC-broadcasted ceremony hitting its highest rating since 2007’s show (see historical data below). Based on metered markets data from Nielsen, last night’s Academy Awards drew an averaged household rating of 26.6 with a 41 share. The 8:30 PM-12:05 AM ET broadcast saw a 4% boost from last year’s 25.5/38 with Billy Crystal hosting. It probably didn’t hurt that six of the nine Best Picture nominees have topped $100 million at the box office this year. The 2013 show was the highest-rated Oscars since 2007’s 27.7/42, when Ellen DeGeneres hosted. Last night’s show hit its peak during the 10-10:30 PM time period, when it popped a 27.5/41. In the adults 18-49 demographic, it received a 15.7/40 in Nielsen’s Local People Meters, also up from last year. Time-period-adjusted fast nationals ratings are expected later this morning, and we’ll update then. In the meantime, check out the historical data here:

2013 26.6/41
2012 25.5/38
2011 24.6/37
2010 26.5/40
2009 23.3/35
2008 21.9/33
2007 27.7/42

  1. Reason for the big 10pm bump – The Walking Dead was over. I imagine the ratings would have been far more impressive if the Oscars didn’t have to compete. I personally tuned in for the opening number @ 8:30, switched to Dead from 9 to 10, then watched the rest of Oscars from 10 on. I imagine that happened a lot.

      1. i sort of did the same, but ending watching the oscars more. Walkimng dead is becoming boring in some ways. The lasy two episodes were bland.

        1. It’s annoying how THE WALKING DEAD swings wildly between excitement and snooze-worthy lameness. I like the show, but I find myself bored much of the time.

  2. Seth MacFarlane.

    The best host of an Oscars broadcast in a decade. Were the jokes a bit over-the-top? You bet. And the audience ate it up. Some forgettable critics are up-in-arms about the “inappropriate” humor. Give me a break. Over the years, the Oscars telecast has had a fair share of streakers, gay kisses, political activism, insobriety and “inappropriate humor.”

    Ricky Gervais and Seth McFarlane deliver the skewers that crowd deserves.

      1. The only people who liked this jerk were men. If a woman had been on there with stupid sexist jokes about men, you can bet your sense of humor would have gone out the window.

        1. I am a woman and I loved it and him. He was hilarious. I cannot remember ever enjoying the Oscars this much. And FYI all my female friends enjoyed it as well.

    1. I was pulling for the guy, but someone needs to tell him he laughs at himself more than Jimmy Fallon.

        1. AGREED Seth clapped to much and was self conscious. That is usually about not enough rehersal time before the show… and some mirror work before hand to get your attention off of yourself is good advise… I do media training.

    2. Oh, please. People watched because we were promised a James Bond reunion and celebration – but there was nothing, except a two-minute highlight reel and one song. Nikki explained how it didn’t come together – but the Academy didn’t tell anybody that it wasn’t going to happen. What did we get instead? A four-hour ‘Chicago’ commercial.

      Yep, more watched but were once again left with a wasted evening. Seth MacFarlane didn’t bring more eyes – promises and lies by the Academy did.

  3. The Oscars was more of a “celebrity roast” than an awards ceremony.
    I primarily watched the Good Wife and Mentalist instead…besides everyone knew ARGO was going to win.

  4. MacFarlane sucked big time. Worst host ever. He seemed like Jerry Lewis from a time warp and he can’t sing or dance. They should have had him in the In Memoriam segment.

    1. Whatever, tell that to the millions of people who preferred to stay tuned in to last night’s show over last year (A doughy “Bring Back Billy”, with weak material, couldn’t save a show where only one of the best picture nominees was a box office smash). I don’t care for Seth MacFarlane’s work, but he lent a hip, almost rat pack-ish vibe to the night, and seemed genuinely happy to play host unlike many other experiments over the past few years. Though last night’s high ratings may stem from most of the Best Pic nominees being actual $100m+ hits, I imagine MacFarlane will be invited back.

      1. “But where James Franco [was] . . . inept two years ago, and Billy Crystal was fine-but-dull a year ago, MacFarlane was uncomfortable, smarmy, unfunny–and not even bad in any memorably creative way.” —Time Magazine
        I don’t know how much the Family Guy is ante-ing up to you, the army of pro-seth trolls, but he did not keep people tuned in. I’ll repeat for the learning impaired. He did NOT keep people tuned in. We watched until the bitter end BECAUSE WE WANTED TO SEE WHO WON?? Understand?? He was the smarmy host of the cruise ship variety show or Vegas lounge lizard. Whether it’s Ricky G or Alec B, Steve M. Billy C or Johnny C…there is a way to poke the elite in the eye. Macfarlane giggled like a little girl after every flat joke. He was mean-spirited as always..The Losers?? Really, Seth?? Look. In. The. Mirror. You’re the booger eating mutant from middle school who finally had his Carrie White moment with the popular kids. Giggle giggle giggle..should have been the best Oscars ever. Sigh.

        1. The “boobs” song & dance could have been funny…if Monty Python or the South Park krewe had created it. “Every Drop is Sacred” by comparison makes Seth’s effort look rude and dirty and mean.

          The difference is inclusive vs. exclusive, “we’re all in this together” vs. “ha ha, look at you.”

          Yeah, actresses drop their tops when the material demands it….and if they want to keep working. Where was that insight amid all the ridicule, gloating and smirking and hapless gay chorus?

          Epic fail.

        2. Actually, I couldn’t have given a toss about who won.
          Seth’s commentary about the way women are objectified in movies to put butts on seats in the I saw your boobs song was not sexist, it was the opposite of sexist. It was pointing out the hypocrisy of Hollywood.
          Most critics will say that he was offensive and inappropriate and call his brand of humour “Sophomoric” but they fail to see the carefully placed nuances because they are too caught up in what they think they should be offended at.
          Fun fact: Did you know people laugh less now than they did during the great depression?
          I think we have all of the whiny politically correct crowd to blame for that.
          Seth did a great job as host, it’s a shame people can’t seem to see him for the genius he is.

  5. She snarks too much even though she needs to earn her living. Clearly Americans liked this year’s Oscars… they stayed with it. Me, I stuck around waiting for Barbra, a rare sight on today’s TV.

    Haven’t seen ANY of the movies but like many of the stars. Coulda had a better host, but he was tolerable. The bits were better than this site’s SNARKER critized, but Nikki has to make a living, again.

    AT least now I know what movies I’m willing to go see or pay to watch on cable.

    I think Nikki snarked too much. Too inside baseball. As a former media guy, I know we’re very influences from the inside, but the viewers just want to be entertained. They MOSTLY don’t much care about that behind the scenes stuff.

    I thought it was a pretty good show, the bits were acceptable, the host wasn’t Eddie Murphy, but he was okay. The music and visuals kept my attention, tho im always fascinated by gay boy dancers who work so hard to be gay and on stage. Not a world most Americans get. It was a little circus-like, yes. But we all love the circus, and that’s what The Oscars, and everyone in the audience actually is. Entertainment!

    So, Nikki, would you rather they all have been what? Funnier or naked?

  6. Frankly, I really enjoyed Seth and actually feel he was restrained by the “powers that be”. He is normally even edgier and harsher which I would have enjoyed. Mel jokes are more stale than week-old bread though.

    1. Absolutely agree. I thought there were times he was biting his lip because he so badly wanted to say something. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he was forced to change his opening bit.

  7. Now let’s see if the same folks who ranted last night on Deadline about Seth’s supposedly lackluster performance take the time to thank him for holding onto the viewers/fans that are propping up their declining theatrical business.

    1. No. More people tuned in this year because many more have seen the films nominated. Plus anticipaion of Shirley, Babs, Adele and Bonds. It’s abit like Obama’s first debate. Many tuned in anticipating a good showdown, but he sucked. Kudos to Amour and Life of Pi. No stars, yet people went and see them.

      1. 2010 was much bigger year(Avatar, Up, Inglerious Basterds) than 2013 but it looks like this year’s Oscars pulled more viewers. It’s not just the movies that matter.

      2. No, you’re wrong. It’s more complex than that, and probably fair to say that the increase was affected by both factors.

  8. Oscars was freaking awesome last night…….for once. I knew Seth was going to rock it and he didn’t disappoint.

  9. My 18 year old son has never watched the Oscars before. He was watching because of Seth MacFarlane. I haven’t watched in years and Seth was the reason I was watching too.

    1. My teenage son never watched the Oscars before either. The only reason he watched was to see Seth, and Seth didn’t disappoint. The people complaining are of the older demo, move over, the new generation of viewers are here and they don’t want long speeches and hosts of yesteryear. The Jaws music while a bit over the top, did help to move it along. Finally, we got a show that didn’t drag on too much. I only say too much, because, regardless, they try to do a lot and it gets long no matter how entertaining the host is.

  10. McFarlane bombed a few times, but was he the “worst”? No.

    The major criticism with his shows are that they lack structure. I was hoping he wouldn’t be all over the place but he was. The show lacked any real structure. It was just strange and boring. It would be nice if they were able to tighten the show for once. This was a year when so many people watched a lot of the nominated films for once, there was no excuse for the show to be so boring.

    McFarlane won’t be back next year. And not because he sucked. He didn’t. He was just “blah” with little glimpses of great that I wish spread out to his whole routine.

    The Meryl joke was excellent. He needed more of that and less of the out of place jokes like the Rihanna/Brown one.

    1. Yes he did bomb at times….but the guy had something ready each time to recover. A nip of Jack for Clooney, etc. Thought Affleck was a big baby when he snarked back at the host after his intro. Get a sense of humor pal.

        1. I agree that McFarlane should be able to take an insult … if Affleck had made one. We didn’t even see McFarlane’s reaction, but I imagine it would be confusion that an Oscar winning writer can’t improvise a decent zinger.

    2. I agree that the problem was structure. Clearly, McFarlane tried to be both both old schooler and edgy newcomer, but there was only room for ONE persona. It’s why the opening went on forever. For instance, the construct with Shatner allowed him to inject ribald humour without injecting it (like the ‘Boobs’ song), if that makes any sense. He should have just picked one persona or the other, and not allowed any of the set pieces to go on forever. The other problem was that the producers were also indulgent, which means that there were way too many musical numbers in other parts of the program.

      I have an idea for next year: Sam Mendes produces, Kevin Spacey hosts and whatever writing team they want. ONE song – up-front – and FIVE minutes of zingers, allowing for more material for Spacey later in the progam. On the basis of ‘Skyfall’ and his other work, Mendes knows how to pay tribute to tradition whilst modernising it at the same time, and Mendes and Spacey could bring some class and wit back to proceedings. And I doubt that – if the Academy wants to pay tribute to a genre – Mendes would include SEVERAL tributes to one of his own films.

  11. Seth was fine, but the overall production was pretty much a mess, musical tributes to musicals of the last … decade? A Chicago reunion of all things? Crappy Bond tribute with an intern-quality tribute video?

  12. Let’s give some props to the Academy’s Marketing, Digital and PR teams. There was some innovative marketing and engagement done in the fly over states. The Academy did a great job with the online Green Room coverage and did a lot with ABC to keep the second screen experience interesting. They spoke to their audiences in their audiences sand boxes!

    1. Having Michelle Obama present “Best Picture” KILLED the night. That’s all anyone’s talking about today online.

      So, “NO” the Oscar’s outreach was pointless.

      1. One of the 2nd term goals of the Obama Administration must be to suck up to Hollywood even more than the Clintons did.

  13. The numbers were higher this year because there were more movies represented that the public had seen. Most people watch to see if the movies they liked will win. And maybe Adele’s appearance singing Skyfall live for the first time added to it. Even though last year had some high profile movies, only one made over $100M.

  14. Attn. Warner Bros: Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum front and center at the Oscars — There’s your Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor personified!

    Forget trying to turn WW into a dystopian downer and make a traditional heroic, romantic fantasy as it should be! Look how much everybody loved “Captain America.”

  15. Yesterday afternoon at a kids soccer game, several dads were discussing the show. The general view was that none of us watch the Oscars nor have any interest in who wins what, but most would be tuning in to see Seth MacFarlane shake things up a little and crush a few overinflated egos. I enjoyed his opening; even my wife (not a Family Guy fan) found him funny and entertaining. But they only had us for the initial half hour; once the awards part began, we turned off the tv.

  16. Oh jesus, people need to get over it. I can think of a dozen media outlets off the top of my head that make a living out degrading female celebrities by discussing their weight, clothing, cleavage etc…The boob song was a perfect example of highlighting how Hollywood exploits women in movies by having them nude just to pander to the lower echelon of society.

    MacFarlane set out to take no prisoners last night and was damn successful at it.

  17. Funny, McFarlane “entertains” at the expense of the entertainers and some overly devoted fans lament the lack of respect as the entertainers value entertainment more, as in their world, that’s the true measure of respect.

  18. I look for MacFarlane to be asked back, but not Zadan and Meron as producers.

    And look for the average age of the presenters to continue to drop as the network tinkers with who “their audience” really wants to see.

    Let’s hope Selena Gomez doesn’t appear in a blockbuster this year, otherwise she’s a lock to present in 2014.

  19. FINALLY, that Billy Crystal noise can be put away. You’re over. And, don’t even think about Tina Fey. Over at the buy-some-Golden Globes is a perfect place for overrated her.

    NF tried waaayyy too hard to snark The Oscars. She read like an old man in the balcony that needed to pee. It’s the same humor SM does on Family Guy and his other projects. It’s why they hired him.

  20. Thank God for the DVR….after the opening monologue, we fast forwarded over ANY shot of SM. He was beyond awful, and made us pray for James Franco to host again. The only reason why we watched at all, was because for the first time in years most races were very hard to call (sans Best Picture).

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