Based on the Fast National live-plus-same-day ratings from Nielsen Media Research, The 82nd Annual Academy Awards on ABC Sunday delivered an average audience of 41.3 million viewers—the most-watched entertainment telecast on any network since Feb. 27, 2005.

That built by 5 million viewers from one year earlier (36.3 million on Feb. 22, 2009), with an increase of 8 percent among adults 18-49 (12.1 to 13.1 rating). The Academy Awards stood well above other awards shows this season, outdrawing the 2009 Emmy Awards by 27.8 million viewers (13.5 million), the 2010 Golden Globe Awards by 24.3 million viewers (17.0 million) and the 2010 Grammy Awards by 15.4 million viewers (25.9 million).

Earlier in the evening on ABC, The final Barbara Walters Special themed to the Oscars rose to its biggest overall audience in eight years, with 15.0 million viewers at 7 p.m. And Oscar’s Red Carpet 2010 half-hour pre-show averaged 25.1 million viewers at 8 p.m., its largest audience in three years.

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