Big boost for Oscars

Sunday's three-hour awardathon clocks in as CTV's most-watched broadcast in 12 years.

The 82nd Academy Awards delivered CTV’s biggest audience in 12 years for Sunday’s marathon three-and-a-half hour telecast.

The annual fete – hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin – averaged 5.9 million viewers and peaked at 7.7 million viewers at 10 p.m., nearing the showdown between frontrunners The Hurt Locker and Avatar for the top prizes. (All numbers 2+ and based on PPM data unless otherwise indicated.)

CTV’s most-watched Oscars remain the 1998 broadcast when James Cameron’s Titanic won best picture. Cameron couldn’t repeat with sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, which lost out to ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow’s Hurt Locker.

Hollywood’s biggest night garnered 32% more viewers than last year’s show, despite rumblings from many critics who gave this year’s broadcast the thumbs down. (The Toronto Star‘s Peter Howell called it the worst Oscars ever.)

The Oscars were also up stateside, where ABC saw 41 million viewers tune in, according to the Los Angeles Times. The numbers are up 14% from last year when Slumdog Millionaire won best picture.

Meanwhile, The Amazing Race netted 1.4 million viewers at 7 p.m., just prior to the Oscars telecast, besting Global’s The Barbara Walters Special which averaged 1.2 million viewers.

From Playback Daily