Viewership for ABC’s Oscars telecast was up 11.7 percent from last year’s record low, according to preliminary figures released Monday by Nielsen.
Sunday’s host-less three-hour, 13-minute ceremony from the Dolby Theatre averaged 29.6 million viewers, the most for a prime-time entertainment program since the 2017 Oscar telecast, which averaged 33.001 million.
The 2018 ceremony, which was 41 minutes longer, averaged 26.5 million viewers. Both the 2017 and 2018 Oscar ceremonies were hosted by ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
The increase in viewership allowed the Oscars to reclaim its longtime title as television’s most-watched entertainment program, a distinction lost last year to the post-Super Bowl episode of the NBC drama “This Is Us,” which averaged 26.972 million viewers.
The Oscar viewership increase follows a 2 percent decrease in viewership for NBC’s coverage of last month’s Golden Globes awards to 18.61 million, despite following an NFL game, unlike the 2018 ceremony.
Final figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but are not expected to change significantly from those released Monday. The difference between preliminary and final figures for the Oscars is customarily between 100,000 and 300,000 viewers.
The final viewership figure for the 2018 ceremony was 26.541 million.
The most-watched Academy Awards ceremony was in 1998, when an average of 55.25 million viewers watched then-box office record-setter “Titanic” win the best picture Oscar. Billy Crystal was the host that year.
Individual viewership figures have been kept since 1974.
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