NEW YORK - The Nielsen ratings company has raised its estimate of Sunday's Oscars viewership to 43.7 million people, meaning the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted show had the biggest audience of any Academy Awards since 2000.
Nielsen's adjustment on Tuesday added 700,000 viewers to what it had estimated the day before, leapfrogging the show past the 2004 Oscars, which had 43.5 million viewers. The 2000 Oscars, with 46.3 million viewers, honored "American Beauty" as the best picture.
The Oscars glow spread to host Ellen DeGeneres, whose daytime talk show on Monday recorded the highest ratings in it 11-year history, Nielsen said.
The Oscars, which honored "12 Years a Slave" as the best picture, led ABC to an easy victory in the prime-time ratings race but didn't obscure some other interesting stories. NBC's viewership last week was 53 percent above the same week a year ago, reflecting a continued bump from the Winter Olympics and illustrating just how dreadful its performance was last winter.
NBC was surprised to see repeats of its two new comedies, "About a Boy" and "Growing Up Fisher," with strong showings topping 8 million and 7 million viewers, respectively. Both comedies were heavily promoted in the Olympics. By contrast, the critically admired "Parks and Recreation" had 2.5 million viewers on Thursday.
NBC's "The Voice" returned to strong interest, with nearly 16 million viewers on Feb. 24 and 13 million on Feb. 25. Fox's once-mighty "American Idol" continues to fade in comparison. Neither of the show's two episodes last week cracked Nielsen's Top 10 list or even reached 11 million viewers.
ABC averaged 11.6 million for the week in prime time. CBS had 8.5 million, NBC had 6.3 million, Fox had 4.4 million, Univision had 3 million, the CW had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and Telemundo had 1.1 million.
USA was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.1 million viewers in prime time. History had 2 million, AMC had 1.754 million, The Disney Channel had 1.749 million and Fox News Channel had 1.714 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.6 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 8.4 million, and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.2 million viewers.
For the week of Feb. 24-March 2, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Oscars," ABC, 43.74 million; "Oscars Red Carpet Live" (8 p.m.), ABC, 26.92 million; "Oscars Red Carpet Live" (7:30 p.m.), ABC, 18.72 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 17.73 million; "NCIS," CBS, 17.03 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 15.86 million; "Oscars Red Carpet Live" (7 p.m.), ABC, 14.76 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 13.16 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 13.05 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 12.61 million.