Ratings: An improved Oscars towers over the week | EW.com

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Ratings: An improved Oscars towers over the week

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Credit the lack of a writers strike. Or a fresh new host in Hugh Jackman. Or Brangelina, if you want. But the revamped Oscars telecast on Sunday night was on the ups (after last year’s ceremony was the lowest-rated in history) to top all other shows on broadcast television for the week ending Jan. 22. In total viewers, Hollywood’s biggest night was up by 13 percent, or 4.3 million viewers. Even though this year’s telecast improved, it was actually the second-lowest-rated Oscars ever. The highest-rated ceremony came in 1998 when the biggest movie of all time, Titanic, drew 55.2 million viewers. By comparison, this year drew just 66 percent of that mammoth audience.

Two other Oscar-related specials shook up the week’s Top 20. Coming in at No. 4 was ABC’s red carpet pre-show, which drew 24.4 million viewers who watched Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, and EW’s Jess Cagle talk to talent like Miley Cyrus, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Mickey Rourke. The other, of course, was the annual Barbara Walters Oscar Special, which always does well. It popped up at No. 16, drawing a respectable 11.6 million viewers. Truly, most of the rest of the audience was probably tuned in to the red carpet coverage on cable nets like E! and TV Guide Network.

The rest of the chart – you guessed it! – packs few surprises. Fox’s American Idol takes the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, with 25.4 million and 24.8 million viewers for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. CBS’ top three procedurals are battling for dominance, and this week a frosh series, No. 5 The Mentalist (18.2 million viewers), topped aging No. 6 NCIS (18.1 million) and No. 7 CSI (16.9 million) for the second week in a row. Could The Mentalist be CBS’ (and TV’s) top new scripted show? It’s very likely at this rate.

The rest of the Top 20 was filled with the usual suspects: Fox brought House (No. 10) and 24 (No. 18); CBS added Criminal Minds (No. 9), Survivor (No. 11), Two and a Half Men (No. 12), CSI: NY (No. 13), Without a Trace (No. 15), and Eleventh Hour (No. 18). ABC scored with Grey’s Anatomy (No. 9), The Bachelor (No. 13), Lost (No. 17), and Private Practice (No. 20). In fact, the Kate Walsh-starrer is seeing a rather huge uptick in its overall ratings: After moving to a post-Grey’s Anatomy time slot on Jan. 8, Practice averaged a modest gain of 1.1 million viewers in its first four episodes. But for the last three weeks, a Grey’s crossover has added another 4 million viewers, on average. It’ll be interesting to see how the spin-off fares now that the two shows are splitting again. NBC and The CW, as usual for this time of year, didn’t make any appearances in the Top 20. The full list is after the jump.

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1. The 81st Annual Academy Awards | ABC | 36.3 million
2. American Idol Tuesday | Fox | 25.4 million
3. American Idol Wednesday | Fox | 24.8 million
4. Oscars Red Carpet 2009 | ABC | 24.4 million
5. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.2 million
6. NCIS | CBS | 18.1 million
7. CSI | CBS | 16.9 million
8. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.6 million
9. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.5 million
10. House | Fox | 14.2 million
11. Survivor: Tocantins | CBS | 13.6 million
12. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 13.3 million
13. The Bachelor | ABC | 12.5 million
14. CSI: NY | CBS | 12.3 million
15. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.1 million
16. Barbara Walters Oscar Special | ABC | 11.6 million
17. Lost | ABC | 11.4 million
18. 24 | Fox | 11.2 million
     Eleventh Hour | CBS | 11.2 million
     Private Practice | ABC | 11.2 million

1. The 81st Annual Academy Awards | ABC | 36.3 million
2. American Idol Tuesday | Fox | 25.4 million
3. American Idol Wednesday | Fox | 24.8 million
4. Oscars Red Carpet 2009 | ABC | 24.4 million
5. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.2 million
6. NCIS | CBS | 18.1 million
7. CSI | CBS | 16.9 million
8. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.6 million
9. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.5 million
10. House | Fox | 14.2 million
11. Survivor: Tocantins | CBS | 13.6 million
12. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 13.3 million
13. The Bachelor | ABC | 12.5 million
14. CSI: NY | CBS | 12.3 million
15. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.1 million
16. Barbara Walters Oscar Special | ABC | 11.6 million
17. Lost | ABC | 11.4 million
18. 24 | Fox | 11.2 million
     Eleventh Hour | CBS | 11.2 million
     Private Practice | ABC | 11.2 million