The Oscars may go down in history for an historic gaffe in naming the wrong film as best picture, but the show wasn’t much of a TV ratings blockbuster.
Nevertheless, even the second least-watched Oscars telecast since individual viewership figures began being kept in 1974 was enough to give ABC its first ratings victory during the official television season since last year’s ceremony, according to live-plus-same day figures by Nielsen.
With Sunday’s Oscars telecast averaging 32.937 million viewers and the final two segments of “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live” being the week’s only two other programs to average more than 15 million viewers, ABC averaged 8.85 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Feb. 20 and Sunday.
CBS averaged 6.8 million viewers to finish second after winning five of the previous six weeks. NBC was third, averaging 4.25 million, followed by Fox, which averaged 2.87 million.
Viewership for the three-hour, 43-minute ceremony hosted by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, the longest since 2002, was 4.3 percent less than the 34.425 million average for last year’s ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
Only the 2008 ceremony hosted by talk show host Jon Stewart averaged fewer viewers, 32.006 million.
Outside of its Oscars programming, ABC’s most-watched program was “The Bachelor,” 12th for the week averaging 7.896 million viewers.
CBS had three of the four non-Oscars programs to average more than 10 million viewers — “NCIS” (14.873 million), “The Big Bang Theory” (13.38 million) and “Bull” (10.665 million).
The other non-Oscars program to top 10 million was the AMC horror series “The Walking Dead,” which averaged 10.423 million viewers, opposite the Oscars in the Eastern and Central times to be the most-watched cable program for the third time of the three weeks of the second half of its seventh season.
The critically acclaimed drama “This Is Us” was NBC’s most-watched program for the fifth time in six weeks, averaging 9.367 million viewers to finish 10th overall.
Fox’s most-watched program was its first-season crime drama “Lethal Weapon,” 28th for the week, averaging 6.261 million.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 2.62 million viewers. HGTV averaged 1.586 million to finish second for the third time in four weeks.
Fox News Channel’s cable news rivals MSNBC (1.435 million) and CNN (958,000) were sixth and 15th for the week among cable networks.
TNT was 10th for the week among cable networks, averaging 1.193 million viewers, a week after its NBA All-Star game programming helped it finish second, averaging 2.292 million.
The week’s only premiere on the four major broadcast networks, the NBC “The Blacklist” spinoff “The Blacklist: Redemption,” was second in its 10- 11 p.m. Thursday time slot and 50th for the week, averaging 4.256 million viewers.
“The Blacklist: Redemption” retained 85.5 percent of the 4.978-million audience of “The Blacklist” which preceded it.
The amount of viewers a series retains from the program preceding it is among the factors network executives consider when deciding whether to renew a series.
“The Blacklist: Redemption” premiere had a 0.8 rating among viewers ages 18-49, the group NBC, ABC and Fox target and advertisers covet, 0.1 less than “The Blacklist.”
The television ratings website tvgrimreaper.com gives “The Blacklist: Redemption” a 30 percent chance of being renewed for a second season, based on a formula that mainly evaluates its viewership among viewers 18-49 compared to other series on NBC.
The most-watched Spanish-language program was Univision’s coverage of Thursday’s Premio Lo Nuestro Latin music awards show, which averaged 3.475 million viewers, 70th overall.
Long-time leader Univision averaged 2.07 million viewers to be the most- watched Spanish-language network for the 16th consecutive week and 18th time in 19 weeks.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.46 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 800,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 230,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 100,000.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was the most-watched nightly newscast, averaging averaging 8.561 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 8.44 million.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 7.005 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s coverage of 89th annual Oscars and the third and second segments of “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live”; CBS’ “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory”; the first segment of “Oscar’s Red Carpet Live”; CBS’ “Bull”; the AMC horror series “The Walking Dead”; CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans”; and NBC’s “This Is Us.”
—City News Service