Jon Stewart Is Not Off the Hook: Sunday's Oscars improved over last year's historically low-rated telecast by 4.3 million viewers, ABC said, citing Nielsen estimates. The Hugh Jackman-hosted show beat the Stewart-hosted show, 36.3 million to 32 million.
Where the Show Ranked: Among this season's award shows, including the resurgent Grammys and Golden Globes, the Oscars was No. 1. Among this season's entertainment telecasts, including every episode of American Idol, the Oscars was No. 1. Among Oscar telecasts this decade, well…
About the History Thing: In Oscars' now-concluded run through the 2000s, last night's show ranked eighth, also known as two spots away from the bottom. The 2000 telecast, hosted by Billy Crystal, runs away as the decade's biggest, with 46.3 million viewers.
So Go the Women, So Go the Oscars: In order for Jackman to stay out the cellar, he had to win back the female viewers who fled the Stewart telecast. And he got about half-way to restoring the show back to its 2007 strength. Compared to last year, the telecast was up 11 percent among women 18-34, and up 12 percent each among women 18-49 and 25-54.
So Go the Preshows, So Goes the Oscars: Last year, Stewart didn't so much alienate the audience, as the audience never bothered to tune in. Last night, ABC's prime-time red-carpet show was up 13 percent, 24.3 million versus 21.5 million. Not coincidentally, the Oscars itself was up 13 percent. On cable, the story was the same. E!'s Live from the Red Carpet was up 17 percent, 3.4 million versus 2.9 million; TV Guide Channel's coverage was up 12 percent, 706,000 compared to 633,000. (E! Online is a division of E! Entertainment.)
Hey, Men Like Wolverine, Too: Last night's telecast was up 22 percent among 18-to-34-year-old guys who admit they watch the Oscars.
Did Anybody Beside Sean Penn's "Commie, Homo-Loving Sons of Guns" Tune In? Let's put it this way: Yes, of the top TV markets, blue-state-based New York City turned in the highest prelim rating, but red-state-based Kansas City, Mo., was nearly as enthusiastic, turning in the fifth-highest rating. Rounding out the top five: Chicago (second), Los Angeles (third) and Boston (fourth).
The Jonas Brothers Can Only Do So Much: On a night where the Oscars and the Oscar preshow were up, Barbara Walters' Oscar interview special, featuring sitdowns with Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Mickey Rourke and the Jonases, was down, from 11.7 million to 11.6 million.
Now, Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, On the Other Hand... Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscar special, featuring A-list appearances by Cruise, Gibson and Robin Thicke, was up 16 percent in viewers. ABC said the show pulled its largest-ever adult 18-34 Oscar night crowd.
Who Doesn't Watch the Oscars? NASCAR fans. Fox's live coverage of the Auto Club 500 drew a Top 25-worthy rating in the 18-49 demo from 7-10 p.m. (ET). The race averaged 9.7 million viewers, preliminary estimates showed.
Where Did All This Leave The Amazing Race? Down 14 percent from its premiere week. Going head-to-head in some time zones with both the Oscars and NASCAR at 8 p.m., the reality series averaged an estimated 7.9 million.
(Originally published Feb. 23, 2009 at 8:55 a.m. PT)