The Oscar telecast Sunday night on ABC reversed the trend for rising ratings for the show, down from the previous two years at a 27.1 houshold rating (and about 38 million viewers on average), versus a 30.1/43 for 2005 and a 29.8/43 for 2004.
The good news was that it still did a big number, far better than it does with its already powerhouse Sunday regular lineup of Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, and enough to beat the competition combined in household rating, 22.9/34 vs. a 16.8/25 for CBS, NBC, Fox, and WB.
ABC did not include Telemundo in the count, though that would not have changed the outcome, and UPN does not program Sunday nights.
That is according to Nielsen Overnight metered market numbers, but excluding the West Coast, so the numbers will likely change slightly when final figures come in.
In its defense, ABC pointed out that this year's crop of best pictures "did not have the box office appeal of recent years," and said the numbers were not far off from the last two years. It also noted that the Jon Stewart-hosted show had improved its 18-34 demo performance by 5% over last year.