Oscar Ratings Preview: Numbers Will Be Up

Can’t wait a few more hours? Fine. We read some Nielsen tea leaves for you

Last Updated: March 8, 2010 @ 11:11 AM

It looks like the Oscars conitnued to reverse their recent downward trend, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out by just how much.

ABC says it won’t have accurate, time-zone adjusted Nielsen data on Sunday’s show until a bit after 12 noon, west coast time. Last year’s show was up vs. 2008, but still relatively low-rated as Oscars go.

One positive sign: The Oscar pre-show appears to be up sharply from last year. And even in the early, non-time zone adjusted numbers, the show seems to have upticked.

Another good omen: In household ratings from the nation’s top 56 markets, the Oscars averaged a 26.5 rating/40 share from 8:30 until the last commercial aired at 11:39 p.m. east coast time. ABC says it can’t compare that number to last year’s household report since Nielsen has changed its methodology. Still, from our memory at least, that does appear to be up from last year’s Oscar share in household numbers.

(UPDATE: Variety says the household number rose 20 percent. So, yeah, it’s a safe bet the finals will be up).

Also, one of our network insiders suggest that in total viewers, the primetime portion of the broadcast seems to have gone up about 8 percent in viewership, to around 39.2 million. But again: These could change notably when the finals are out, but we’d be surprised if they went down rather than up.

A bump over 40 million viewers now seems likely.

We’ll update when we have numbers that mean something.