Ratings: Oscar's 41 million viewers win week's top prize

Sunday night’s big winners at the Oscars included Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, Kathryn Bigelow, and The Hurt Locker, but the telecast itself also nabbed a big prize: In addition to being the most-watched Oscars in five years, it was also the broadcast networks’ biggest show for the week ending March 7. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards drew 41.7 million viewers, besting the second place program—which was actually the Oscar red carpet pre-show—by more than 16 million viewers. And usual juggernaut America Idol on Fox landed a rather distant third and fourth, pulling 23.6 million and 23.5 million viewers for its Wednesday and Tuesday night episodes, respectively. Rounding out the week’s top five was a new hour of NCIS, which drew 19.6 million viewers and still reigns as television’s top scripted show.

The rest of the top 20 was rather unremarkable, with the usual suspects filling the ranks. The few standouts include the season finale of The Bachelor, which landed at No. 10 with a very healthy 15.2 million viewers. The series’ After the Final Rose special, which aired directly after the finale, also did well, punching in at No. 14 with 13.9 million viewers. And Barbara Walters’ last Oscars special, which ABC aired just before the Oscars on the East Coast and just after it on the West Coast, drew 15.0 million viewers, which was good enough to nab the No. 11 spot.

The full top 20—complete with viewership totals—is after the jump.

1. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards | ABC | 41.7 million
2. Oscars Red Carpet 2010 | ABC | 25.3 million
3. American Idol Wednesday | Fox | 23.6 million
4. American Idol Tuesday | Fox | 23.5 million
5. NCIS | CBS | 19.6 million
6. American Idol Thursday | Fox | 19.4 million
7. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 16.9 million
8. The Big Bang Theory | CBS | 15.7 million
9. CSI | CBS | 15.6 million
10. The Bachelor | ABC | 15.2 million
11. The Barbara Walters Special: Oscars 2010 | ABC | 15.0 million
12. The Mentalist | CBS | 14.9 million
13. NCIS: Los Angeles | CBS | 14.8 million
14. The Bachelor: After the Final Rose | ABC | 13.9 million
15. The Good Wife | CBS | 13.3 million
16. Criminal Minds | CBS | 13.0 million
17. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains | CBS | 12.7 million
18. CSI: NY | CBS | 12.3 million
19. CSI: Miami | CBS | 12.1 million
20. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 11.8 million

Source: Nielsen

Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Rob Grizzly

    Does that mean 10 noms are here to stay? They didn’t even highlight all 10 throughout the night, rushing to open the envelope at the end of the show without a moment of suspense

  • Bernice

    Its crazy how CBS just kills every single night of the week.

  • SueAnn

    Oscar Retransmission: Some Euro channels are retransmitting the Oscars via internet television ( LoggTV.com ) They left out Farrah Fawcett she didn’t deserve that.

  • Pam

    On the obits that was shown, what happened to Farah Fawcett? Why wasn’t her pic shown?

    • Shamus N.

      They also didn’t do Bea Arthur or Henry Gibson (whose credits include Nashville, The Blues Brothers, and Charlotte’s Web, among others). Who was running the store?


    First of all, is it really fair to say they won the ratings since no other stations broadcast anything worth watching?! Second – I loved Farah but honestly, she was a TV actress not a movie star.

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