6:46am PT by Mikey O'Connell
TV Ratings: Oscars Rise to 43.7 Million Viewers, Most-Watched in Over 10 Years
ABC's annual airing of the Oscar telecast dominated Sunday night. Final ratings for the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted show have the Academy Awards more than 2.5 million viewers ahead of last year and even in the key demographic.
All told, ABC"s coverage of the Academy Awards averaged 43.7 million viewers and 13.1 rating among adults 18-49. That's a 8 percent boost in viewers and a tenth of a point improvement from last year's adults-under-50 score. Its the most-watched Oscars since 2000. DeGeneres brought lifts among younger viewers and men -- with ratings among adults 18-34 and men both at their highest since 2007.
Last year's final returns for the Oscars gave the three-hour-and-ten-minute telecast 40.4 million viewers and a 13 rating among adults 18-49. It's the biggest event on the ABC calendar, outranking all other televised awards shows. The network, which lacks any marquee sporting events, reached a deal with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2011 to keep the Oscars on ABC through at least 2020.
The Oscars have been reasonably steady in recent years after the ratings nosedive in 2008 -- those averaged 32 million viewers and a 10.7 in the demo -- fluctuating between 1 or 2 million north or south of the 40-million-viewer mark.
The last time DeGeneres hosted the Oscars, in 2007, the show averaged 40.2 million viewers and a 14.1 rating with adults 18-49. The telecast hasn't topped that demo score since.
Most broadcast networks opted not to bother airing any original programming against the kudos -- though CBS did air a new episode of The Amazing Race (1.5 adults), even with last week's premiere.