February 27, 2012

The Sked: OSCAR SUNDAY Ratings

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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>The fast national ratings (100% of the country measured but the western time zones inaccurately counted) give last night’s Academy Awards a preliminary 10.2 rating with Adults 18-49 and 34.3 million viewers 2+.  Now, before we give ourselves an Oscar for our prediction, remember the fast nationals will be adjusted upward as the Pacific time zone is properly counted.  (Much of the Pacific time zone’s viewing of the Oscar telecast is currently counted in the Red Carpet Arrival show in the preliminary numbers.)  If last year’s patterns hold, the official Oscar telecast rating will go up to an 11.4 rating with Adults 18-49 (down from last year and the second lowest in history) and 38.8 million viewers 2+ (up slightly from last year), indicating Billy Crystal brought in viewers over 50 but the Academy Awards audience just keeps getting older.  We will update with the official numbers when they arrive.

           ACADEMY AWARDS Telecast Viewership
               Adult   Viewers
               18-49     2+     
               Rating  millions  BEST PICTURE
   2012 Feb 26  10.2    34.3     The Artist   FAST NATIONAL
                10.4*   32.9*    The Artist*  SHOWBUZZ FORECAST
   2011 Feb 27  11.8    37.6     The King’s Speech
   2010 Mar  7  13.3    41.6     The Hurt Locker
   2009 Feb 22  12.1    36.9     Slumdog Millionaire
   2008 Feb 24  10.7    31.8     No Country for Old Men
   2007 Feb 25  14.1    39.9     The Departed
   2006 Mar  5  13.9    38.6     Crash
   2005 Feb 27  15.1    42.2     Million Dollar Baby
   2004 Feb 29  15.3    43.6     Lord of the Rings:
                                   Return of the King
How can the important 18-49 ratings be equal (or slightly better) to last year in the initial overnight ratings but down in the fast national and projected official national ratings?  Remember that the overnight ratings only measure the largest markets, while the fast nationals and official nationals include the half of the country that lives in smaller markets: more rural and more red state.  In addition to trending toward an older audience over 50, the Academy Awards increasingly trend toward larger markets, the coasts, and blue state territory.  
CBS averaged a 1.4 rating last night.  A repeat 60 Minutes (1.3) kicked off the night, followed by a new Amazing Race (2.1), which was down not surprisingly from last week’s 2.6 but similar to last year’s similar episode against the Oscars.  Repeat dramas rounded out the night: The Mentalist (0.9) and CSI: Miami (1.2).  Last year on Oscar night, a 1.7 rating from 7-11 pm:  60 Minutes Presents (1.2), Amazing Race (2.1), Undercover Boss (1.5) and CSI: Miami (2.0).

NBC also averaged a 1.4, up from last year.  Repeats before 9 pm, Dateline (1.1) and Celebrity Apprentice (0.8), gave way to an original two-hour Celebrity Apprentice (1.8) from 9:00-11:08 pm.  Why the odd end time?  So local stations could call their late newscast a special (according to Nielsen rules) and not count the number in their February sweep average.  Last week Celebrity Apprentice premiered with a 2.6 rating.  Last year on Oscar night, a 0.9 rating from 7-11 pm: Dateline Classic 7-8 pm (0.8), Minute to Win It 8-9 pm (0.7), Minute to Win It 9-10 pm (1.2) and Minute to Win It 10 pm (0.8).

FOX made it three networks at a 1.4 against the Oscars with repeats of animated comedies: Bob’s Burgers (0.8), Cleveland Show (1.0), Simpsons (1.6), Napoleon Dynamite (1.6), Family Guy (1.6) and American Dad (1.5).  Last year on this night, a 1.9 rating from 7-10 pm: Simpsons 7:00 (1.7), American Dad 7:30 (1.6), Simpsons 8:00 (2.2), Bob’s Burgers 8:30 (1.8), Family Guy 9:00 (2.1), Family Guy 9:30 (2.0).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."