TV Ratings: Jimmy Kimmel's Oscar Special Hits High With Nearly 7 Million Viewers

The exposure for ABC's "Live!" comes at an ideal time, with Jimmy Fallon's move into "Tonight" dominating late-night ratings and the conversation for the last few weeks.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Jimmy Kimmel got his biggest post-Oscar draw yet on Sunday night. Despite the very late start time, at the yawn-inducing 12:42 a.m. on the East Coast, Jimmy Kimmel Live! averaged nearly 7 million viewers.

The official audience, 6.993 million, was up 22 percent from the 2013 Academy Awards outing and ranks as the best ever for the talk show host, besting any late-night or primetime showing in total viewers or the targeted demo of adults under 50. In that group, Kimmel scored 2.42 million viewers -- up 22 percent from last year.

VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel Turns Popular YouTube Hits Into Dramatic Movie Trailers

In addition to Kimmel's star-studded homage to viral videos and a first look at Monday guest Rob Ford, the comically embattled Toronto mayor, the late-late-night telecast also included a visit from Kevin Spacey.

Kimmel's Sunday win comes after a particularly strong showing last Thursday, when guest Kerry Washington and some Scandal-heavy programming after the ABC drama's primetime return drove ratings to season highs.

The ABC host, like CBS' David Letterman, has otherwise been playing second fiddle to NBC's high-profile changing of the guard at The Tonight Show. Jay Leno's final shows and Jimmy Fallon's first two weeks have given Tonight a much stronger than typical ratings advantage.