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Why are Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron owed tips from Oscar organizers? Why is Chris Rock owed an apology from the Oscar press? And when the heck is Nielsen going to start folding in Web and mobile-phone use—and start saving your favorite endangered show?
The answers—and more questions—in this week's TV ratings pop quiz:
1. Did Pattinson and Efron Really Save the Oscars? Fans of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet, among others, say, "Are you outta your mind?" The numbers, however, suggest the two tween gods sure didn't hurt. The show's ratings among teens 12-17 and kids 2-11 zoomed, up 25 percent and 33 percent, respectively, from last year, ABC said, citing Nielsen stats.
2. Is Chris Rock Bigger Than You Think? Yes. The comic's maligned 2005 turn as Academy Award host inspired a thousand variations on this Washington Post headline: "Oscar Telecast's Ratings: Less Than Rock Solid." A funny thing happened, though, on the way to the end of the decade. Rock's Oscars wound up as the fourth-most-watched telecast of the 2000s. Its 42.1 million viewers topped shows hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart and Jackman.
3. So, When Is Nielsen Going to Start Counting Everything—TV and Online Views, DVR Playback, Mobile-Phone Use, Etc.? The day after Nielsen released a report detailing just how much we're watching TV on the so-called "three screens" (TV, Web, mobile), the company told E! News it had hopes, but "no timetable" for combining those stats into the weekly rankings.
4. Who Has Time to Watch Five Hours of TV a Day? Your bubby, who actually watches closer to 7 hours a day. Adults age 65 and older watched the most TV, the Nielsen study said: 207 hours per month, compared to 103 hours for teens 12-17. The average American watched 151 hours, the most ever, plus spent another 3 hours watching videos on the Internet (everything from YouTube clips to last week's 30 Rock), and another 3 hours-plus watching videos on their cell phones and other mobile devices.
5. So, If We're All Watching So Much TV, Why Are the Ratings for [Insert Your Favorite Show Here] in the Toilet? Reread the answers for No. 3 and 4. Unless your bubbe's a fan of your favorite show, your favorite show is probably being watched on a bunch of different platforms that Nielsen doesn't count yet. This helps explain why the older-skewing The Mentalist draws monster crowds, and why the younger-skewing Lost is a shadow of its former total-viewer self, even as it remains a Top 10 hit in the 18-49 demo.
6. Can DVRs Rescue Heroes? Well, as low as the series sunk last night, it is adding a better-than-average 1.7 million viewers once a week's worth of DVR playback is added in. By comparison, Lost adds 1.9 million; House, 1.6 million; The Office, 1.5 million; and, 24, 1.4 million.
7. To Repose a Question From Last Week, Why Shouldn't Fans Give Up on Dollhouse Yet? What's Dollhouse? Is that the show Fox didn't mention once, not once, in its weekly ratings report?
8. Is Nick's Spectacular! the New High School Musical? The early returns say no. The TV-movie's debut was cable-big (3.7 million), but not HSM-spectacular. The flick got bested in a tween-to-tween showdown by the new Disney Channel movie Dadnapped (4.6 million) and blew a big lead-in provided by the week's top cable comedy series, iCarly (5.1 million), which applied its own smackdown to Hannah Montana (4.4 million).
8. What Were Cable's Top Series, Nontween Division? The Closer (5.9 million), Monk (5.5 million), Psych (4.8 million), Burn Notice (4.7 million) and Top Chef (season-high 3.6 million).
9. Was Anything Bigger Than the Oscars? No. The show was the week's No. 1 show in viewers (36.3 million) and the 18-49 demo. Tuesday's American Idol (25.4 million), Wednesday's Idol (24.8 million), ABC's Oscar preshow (24.5 million) and The Mentalist (18.2 million) rounded out the top five in the total-viewer rankings. Grey's Anatomy (15.6 million) was the No. 1 scripted show among 18-to-49-year-olds.