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ABC and the Oscars Steamroll the Competition: The Other Big 4 Broadcast Nets Finish in a Distant Three-Way Tie TVbytheNumbers, LA Times

ABC's big night keeps getting bigger, with numbers for Sunday's Academy Awards telecast ticking upward as new results come in. The latest we have is from TVbytheNumbers.com, which reports that ABC pulled off a dominant win in prime time, based on Nielsen overnights.

In the key 18-49 demo, ABC averaged a 10.2 rating for prime time, with Fox, NBC and CBS each settling for a 1.0 while Univision trailed with a 0.6 average. ABC averaged a whopping 35.155 million total viewers, amassing an enormous lead over CBS (5.405 million), NBC (3.735 million), Fox (2.294 million) and Univision (1.884 million).

The Oscars telecast itself piled up a 12.9 average rating in the 18-49 demo from 8:30-11:41 p.m., up 7% from the preliminary number for the broadcast a year ago -- but down 1% from last year's final figure of 13.0.

Results for ABC's 90 minutes of prime-time pre-Oscars coverage were mixed: "Oscars Red Carpet Live!" delivered a 5.3 average in adults 18-49 for the 7 p.m. half-hour, ticking up 6% from the preliminary number last year, while the 7:30 half-hour rose to a 6.8 (up 1% from a year ago), but the 9.1 for the 8 p.m. half-hour represented a dip of 1% from last year.

Fox and NBC ran up the white flag early, airing all-repeat programming in prime time. CBS made a half-hearted attempt, putting up a fresh "60 Minutes" (1.4 average in 18-49 at 7 p.m., up 8% from a week ago) and "The Amazing Race" (1.5 average, equaling last week's series low) before rolling out repeats for prime time's final two hours.

The Los Angeles Times notes that the audience for Sunday's 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, was the program's biggest in 10 years, and was up 6% from the Seth MacFarlane-hosted event a year ago, which averaged 40.4 million total viewers.

"The viewership record for the Oscars was set in 1998, when the gala drew 55.3 million people," the Times report notes. "That was the year the blockbuster 'Titanic' won 11 Oscars, including the award for best picture."

Total audience last night was reportedly up for the third consecutive year.

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