Oscars Most-Watched Since 2005

More than 41 million viewers tune in the Steve and Alec show. Ratings also up in key demos, though not as much

Sunday's Oscar cast attracted 41.3 million viewers, the best since 2005 and a roughly 15 percent gain from 2009's show.

That's according to fast national, time zone-adjusted ratings from Nielsen. It's a two-year up-trend for the Oscars, which last year averaged 36.3 million viewers.

The Alec Baldwin-Steve Martin show skewed a bit older, however. Its demo average of 13.1 was up — but just 7 percent from 2009. And in adults 18-34, the show was actually down 3 percent.

Much of the audience gains came in adults over 50: This year's show was up 17 percent in that demo.

Still, the trend is positive for Oscar. The 2009 telecast was up 26 percent from 2008's show. And in demos, the show was the highest rated since 2007.

WABC's dispute with Cablevision definitely had an impact on the ratings.

In recent years, the Oscars’ No. 1 market has been New York. But this year, with the show off the air for nearly half an hour on Cablevision homes, the Oscars were the No. 13 market in Nielsen's overnight averages.

There was a big jump in Oscar viewership as more New Yorkers got wind the show was back on Cablevision. At 8:30 p.m., the awards averaged a 22.4 household rating in New York. But by 9 p.m., it had soared to a 29.3.

More analysis to come….