Sunday Night Belonged to Oscar

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Sunday was Oscar night and an easy win for ABC, according to the Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate ratings, which are subject to change from the final national ratings, due late Monday.

But the early Nielsens indicate that the Academy Awards telecast, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. ET, averaged a 24.4 rating/38 share. That was a big bounce from last year’s show, which averaged a record low 20/30.

Last year’s fall off has been attributed to the somber national mood resulting from the start of the Iraq War. If the early numbers hold, this year’s show would be up at least 22% and more in line with typical Oscar ratings.

It was an all-Oscar night for ABC, starting with the traditional pre-Oscar Barbara Walters interview special, which also easily won the time period from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a 12.3/30. That was followed by the Red Carpet Special from 8 to 8:30, which averaged a 20.8/31.

For the night, ABC averaged a 12.3/30 among adults 18-49 and a 14.5/31 among adults 25-54. The competition was largely in rerun mode and doing no better than single digit household and demo ratings.

For the night, the Nielsen fast affiliate averages, viewers: ABC, 35.5 million; NBC, 8.7 million; CBS, 8.2 million; Fox, 6.2 million and WB, 3.4 million.

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