Oscar Ratings a Success... sort of.

Variety reports that Sunday's telecast blew away the other networks in the ratings war, but was not as widely watched as expected:

The telecast averaged 39.9 million viewers, according to preliminary data released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. That was 3% more than the 38.9 million who tuned in last year and essentially flat in adults 18-49 -- a 14.0 this year compared with a 13.9 a year ago -- but up in such other key measures as women 18-34 and women 18-49.

ABC said Monday that the Oscarcast was up 8% to a 12.9 rating in adults 18-34, the highest rating in that demo in five years.

Karina Longworth, said on Netscape's blog that watching from a industry-heavy viewing party in Manhattan was only fun thanks to Scorsese's work:

Certainly no one suggested that what the evening really needed was more production numbers and fewer flamboyant outfits. The New York crowd simply slogged through, clapping some but mocking more, waiting for the good stuff. For our perseverance, we were rewarded with four big wins (Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture) for the hometown favorite, Martin Scorsese's The Departed. The genuine sense of joy in the room when the final award of the night was announced made sitting through the show's interminable middle three hours seem almost worthwhile.

And with that, the Monday morning quarterbacking will slowly fade into the noise bed, to be drowned out by celebrity dirt-digging, million dollar contract agreements and the latest crop of crap to be squeezed out of Hollywood's self-indulgent sphincter.

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