Last night’s Academy Awards on ABC averaged 36.3 million total viewers—an increase of over four million from last year’s show—and posted increases in all major demographics, according to ABC fast national ratings. The Oscars earned 12.1 ratings among adults 18-49, a 13% increase from last year.
The show beat out the season premiere of American Idol for most-watched entertainment telecast of the season and was easily the most-watched award’s show.
The Oscar’s Red Carpet 2009 pre-show also increased from last year’s show. The program pulled in 24.3 million viewers and a 7.2 rating in the 18-49 demo from 8-8:30. It was a 2.8 million viewer increase in the demo from 2008.
Barbara Walter’s hour-long Oscar’s special at 7 p.m. earned a 3.2 rating with adults 18-49 and averaged 11.6 million viewers.
The Oscars Web site also saw increases in unique visitors (57% jump) and page views (87%).
In total households, the show itself pulled a 23.3 rating and a 35 share, according to early Nielsen ratings taken from 56 U.S. markets. As with any live-event broadcast, the final numbers will look significantly different than the early returns.
The 23.3/35 rating would be a 6% increase from last year’s 21.9/33., the lowest-rated Academy Awards ever.
According to Nielsen, the top five highest-rated markets were New York (34.1/49), Chicago (31.2/46), Los Angeles (28.1/44), Boston (27.4/42), and Kansas City (27.1/41).
ABC's late night host got an Oscar's boost as well. Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Academy Awards increased by 38% among adults 18-49. His show, featuring guests Mel Gibson and Robin Thicke, drew the largest 18-49 year-old audience in two years.
In other Oscar-related coverage, E's Live from the Red Carpet: the 2009 Academy Awards drew more than 3.2 million viewers from 6-8 p.m., up 14% from last year. It also increased by 8% among its core audience of 18-49 women.
E's after party post-Oscar coverage was also up 10% from 2008, with a .43 HH ratings from 11:30-1:30 a.m.