Warm-ups provide big L.A. boost to KABC, KTLA, E!

The intensive viewer interest that produced the highest-rated Oscarcast in 15 years spilled over to the pre-Academy Awards shows as well, with KABC and KTLA earning huge ratings increases for their star arrival shows locally and E! Entertainment TV pulling in the largest national audience in the cabler’s nearly eight-year history.

KABC’s Academy Awards Pre-Show generated a 16.5 average rating from Nielsen between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. after scoring a 13.8 a year ago. KTLA’s Oscar warm-up also crept up, to a 7.5 rating from last year’s 6.6.

But it was on the Oscarcast itself where KABC really cleaned up. It snared a 51.7 Nielsen rating, 13% better than the 45.8 average of 1997 and the station’s highest kudocast numbers in a dozen years. KABC pointed out that the 51.7 was more than eight full rating points better than the 43.6 average hauled down locally by KNBC for January’s Super Bowl XXXII.

Meanwhile, the E! “Live Academy Awards Pre-Show” hosted by Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa averaged a 3.5 rating in the 48 million-home E! universe. That translates into 1.7 million households between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. PT, easily the highest figures in the eight years that the network has been covering the Oscar festivities and more viewers than have ever watched a single program on E!.

The previous E! ratings record was last year’s Oscar pre-show, which garnered a 2.3.

The 51.5/67 rating by KABC was the highest among the major cities, according to ABC. San Diego ran second with a 47.1/64, followed by New York (45.8/65), Sacramento (44.3/60) and Minneapolis (44.2/67).

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