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Ratings: Oscars most-watched in five years

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ABC scored the most-watched Oscars in five years last night, with 41.3 million viewers tuning in to see Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin host the Hollywood glamourfest, according to early Nielsen estimates. The awards telecast was up 5 million viewers over last year despite worries over whether 3.1 million New York viewers with Cablevision service would be able to see the event due to a contract dispute that kept ABC off the air in the area until just after the Oscars began. The news also indicates that perhaps the Academy’s move to nominating 10 Best Picture candidates instead of five did, indeed, bring in more viewers — or certainly didn’t hurt. ABC’s Oscars Red-Carpet Pre-Show pulled in 25.1 million viewers, its biggest audience since 2007; and Barbara Walters’ final Oscar night special pulled in 15 million viewers, up 3.4 million over last year and its biggest audience in eight years.

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