The 73rd Annual Academy Awards will go down in history as the lowest-rated telecast to date. It also logged the fewest total viewers of any Oscarcast in the past four years. Even so, it gave ABC a boost in the weekly ratings race.
The show averaged a 26.2 rating/40 share in households, according to Nielsen Media Research. In 1986, the special averaged a then-lowest 27.3 rating. Sunday night's telecast averaged 42.9 million viewers (46.3 million watched a year ago), but 72.2 million people tuned to the show, which was hosted by Steve Martin, sometime between 8:30 and 11:30 p.m. ET, according to ABC estimates. The event was also down 7% from last year in adults 18-49 (17.8 rating vs. 19.1). ABC did see an increase in males 18-34, though; the 14.1 rating was up 7% from 2000.
Even though low-rated, Oscar helped ABC run away with the weekly ratings. ABC dominated the network competition, with a 15.6 million-viewer average and a 5.8 rating in adults 18-49 for the week of March 19-25, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS, which didn't have an original Survivor: The Australian Outback last week, placed second in both adults 18-49 (4.3 rating) and total viewers (11.9 million).