February 25, 2013 8:34am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Oscar Telecast Grows to 40 Million Viewers With Host Seth MacFarlane
With time-zone adjustments, final ratings for ABC's Oscar telecast have it slightly outperforming last year's total viewers but leaping double digits in the key demographic.
After promising overnight and Fast National returns, the Seth MacFarlane-hosted broadcast ended up bringing in 40.3 million viewers between 8:30 p.m. and just after midnight ET. That marks a 3 percent bump from 2012.
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Nielsen data gives the 85th Academy Awards a much bigger jump in the key demo. The Oscars earned a 13.0 rating with adults 18-49. That's up 11 percent from last year.
The 2012 Oscars -- hosted by show veteran Billy Crystal, who replaced Eddie Murphy in the gig -- largely were steady from the previous year. The 39.3 million haul marked a 4 percent jump from 2011 and the final 11.7 adults rating was off by only a tenth of a point.
Despite the relatively even ratings of late, the show has fluctuated quite a bit in the past 10 years -- with the highest returns in 2004 (43.6 million, a 10 million jump from the previous year) and the lowest in 2008 with 31.8 million.
ABC also got a boost with red carpet coverage. Oscar arrivals pulled a 5.0 adults rating at 7 p.m. ET, a 6.7 at 7:30 p.m. and a 9.2 at 8 p.m. The margin of improvement over the previous year's fast returns rose from 4 percent to 14 percent from the first half-hour to the last.
Among broadcast competition, Fox's largely MacFarlane-created animation lineup scored second place for the night with encores. The network averaged a 1.3 rating with adults 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers.
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Only CBS put up an original against ABC's big show. A new episode of The Amazing Race, bookended by repeats, dropped 28 percent to a series-low 1.8 adults rating. The network averaged a 1.1 adults rating and 5.7 million viewers. NBC repeats followed with a 0.8 adults rating and 2.8 million viewers.
Univision averaged a 0.8 rating with adults 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers.