Oscar_badge__1403022122322nd UPDATE, 7:55 AM: Awards season may be over for now but numbers for the  Oscars are still coming in – and they are going up. Based on the latest figures from Nielsen, Sunday’s 86th Annual Academy Awards had a total viewership of 43.7 million with a 13.1/33 rating among adults 18-49. That’s a small rise from the previous figure of 43.0 million viewers and a 12.9 rating among the key demo. That result, which is up 8% from 2013, also makes the 3-hour and 34-minute 2014 Oscars the most watched Academy Awards since 2000 when 46.53 million tuned in. Hosted by Billy Crystal in his seventh stint as Oscars frontman, that 4-hour 4-minute show saw American Beauty take home the Best Picture award. Among the 18-49s, the new rating makes this year’s Oscars the highest rated in the demo since 2010. 

1st UPDATE, 10:45 AM March 3: The 86th Annual Academy Awards was watched by 43.0 million viewers last night. Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres for the second time in seven years, the Oscars telecast was up 6% from the 40.3 million who tuned in last year, when Seth MacFarlane fronted the live ceremony for ABC.

Though the jump seems small, last night’s viewership is actually the best Hollywood’s big night has done since the 43.5 million that watched in 2004 when Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King took the Best Picture Oscar. OscarRatings1(See chart at left.) Among adults 18-49, last night’s show had a 12.9 rating for the more than 3-hour event that saw Beat Original Song performances from U2, Pharrell Williams, Karen O and Frozen’s Idina Menzel and 12 Years A Slave take Best Picture. The demo result was just a hair under than the 13.0 fast national that the 2013 Oscars saw. (See full chart below.)

abc46Coming on right after the big show for a ninth year in a row, Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Oscars was up 22% in total viewers and 20% in the key demo over last year, good for its best ever post-Oscars performance. With past Oscar winer Kevin Spacey among his guests, Kimmel was watched by 6.993 million viewers overall with 2.423 million in the demo. With those numbers and a heavily hyped show tonight featuring scandal-heavy Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Kimmel could see some serious traction in the already tightening race at 11:35 PM with Jimmy Fallon’s new Tonight Show. 

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86th Annual Academy Awards - ShowPREVIOUS, 6:34 AM: With a couple of pizzas, some hit tunes and a celeb-heavy selfie that took Twitter by storm, looks like the second time is a small Oscars score for Ellen DeGeneres and ABC. As the talk-show host fronted Hollywood’s big night once again after seven years, the live 86th Annual Academy Awards drew a 27.9/41 in metered-market ratings last night from 8:30-11:30 PM. That is up 7% from the 26.1/41 that the ceremony got last year on February 24, 2013 with Family Guy creator and Ted director Seth MacFarlane hosting in the comparable time-period. It’s also up a tad from DeGeneres’ last stint hosting the Oscars on February 25, 2007, which got a  27.7/42.  Not only did last night’s 3-hour and 35-minute total running time show just beat last year’s show, which ultimately pulled a 13.0/31 fast national rating among adults 18-49 and 40.3 million viewers, but it was the best Oscars in terms of metered-market results since 2005’s 30.1/43 metered market results (check out the historical data below). Also up year to year was Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscars special. Last night it posted a 9.5/23 in households and a 4.2/17 in 18-49 in the metered markets, up sharply from last year’s 4.8/15 and a 2.1/11.

(UPDATE, 8:45 AM: The preliminary fast nationals are in and the Oscars got a 12.1/29 among adults 18-49 with 40.2 million watching form 8:30 PM to 11 PM. That’s even from the 12.1/28 in early fast nationals that the 2013 Academy Awards had among the key demo but up 9% in viewership from the 37.0 million that the Seth MacFarlane-hosted show had. Last year’s demo rating went up to 13.0 and it’s audience rose to 40.3 million when the final time-zone adjusted numbers for the live event came in.

Besides the Oscars and the Oscars Red Carpet Live! 90 minute pre-show, which was steady with last year, almost everything else on primetime was a repeat last night. Except on CBS. Like last Oscars, the network had a new Amazing Race on at 8PM last night. With a 1.5/4 among adults 18-49, that’s even with last week’s series low episode that was up against the Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony. However the reality show was down last night from the 1.9/5 that it got against the 2013 Oscars on February 24 last year. Amazing Race was also down in viewership from the comparable night last year with an audience of 6.04 million compared to 2013’s 6.95 million.)

As 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron got Best Director for Gravity and Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey and Blue Jasmine‘s Cate Blanchett took home the top Actor and Actress awards, last night’s show hit its peak in the 10:30 PM time period when it topped out with a 28.7/44. In terms of adults 18-49, the Oscars received a 16.2/39 in Local People Meters, according to Nielsen. That’s up a touch from the 15.7/40 that last year’s Academy Awards garnered. We’ll update with fast nationals and the time-period-adjusted final Oscar numbers when they come in later today. In the meantime, here are the metered-market results over time: