Did hard times play a factor in Sunday's Oscar bounce? Despite the lack of blockbuster contenders and a rookie host, ratings for the Academy Awards was up on both sides of the border. Good news (finally), broadcast
ers. Seems people are doing what they do when times are tough--staying home and watching television.
In Canada, The 81st Annual Academy Awards once again ranks as the No. 1 broadcast of the year, ahead of CTV's Super Bowl and other sports coverage. CTV says they pulled 4.5 million viewers according to BBM/NMR overnight estimates (4.424 tuned in last year). Another 2.8 million caught CTV's simulcast of the ABC Oscar pre-show.
The U.S. score was up about 6%, with 33.57 million ABC viewers tuning in between 8:30 and 11 p.m. according to overnight estimates. Last year--the lowest rated Oscar ever--drew 32.01 million.
The Amazing Race got left in the Oscar dust in the U.S., scoring a less than amazing 7.83 million viewers on CBS. (Odd that CBS wasted a new episode of the reality show opposite the Oscars.) CTV--which needed an Oscar night fix because Global had Barbara Walters--was able to keep Race hot in Canada by jamming it between its red carpet coverage and the Oscar pre-show special. That doubled the Race score proportionally, toward the million-and-a-half mark.
In the battle of the red carpets, CTV's eTalk beat Canwest's E coverage nationally (604,100 to 429,500) but the Oscar network surprisingly ranked second to E in the 18-49-year-old demo and was a distant second in both households and demo in Toronto--almost as if the eTalk host was some kind of audience repellent!
Other Sunday numbers: Global managed to pull 800,000 with Barbara Walters and her Jonas brothers chat. CBC scored 656,000 with another Miss Marple movie opposite the awards.
CBC's big score came on Saturday night, as Leaf fans flocked back to see Mats Sundin return to the ACC on Hockey Night in Canada. An estimated 1,833,000 saw the Leafs/Canucks game. Numbers in the 500,000-800,000 tuned in for the afternoon and evening Hockey Day in Canada tilts.