Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Against a backdrop of war, Sunday’s telecast of the 75th annual Academy Awards on ABC attracted the smallest turnout on record for the kudocast, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, down about 20% vs. last year.

Thoroughly 31/2-hour show averaged 33.1 million viewers and a 12.5 rating among adults 18-49 – the first time since 1987 that the Oscars have even fallen below 40 million. Last year, by comparison, the awards show averaged 41.8 million viewers and a 16.1 rating in the 18-49 demo.

The Oscars generally rate as the television season’s second most-watched primetime telecast (behind the Super Bowl), but this year’s merely ranks fifth – behind the Super Bowl, football’s AFC championship game, the finale of “Joe Millionaire” and the season premiere of “Friends.”

None of the other nets did much on the night, with NBC placing second in adults 18-49 (3.0 rating) and CBS, with two hours of college basketball, a runner-up in total viewers.

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