The March 2 ceremony hosted by Ellen DeGeneres drew 43 million viewers, up 6 percent from last year.
Ellen DeGeneres helped score big ratings for ABC with the 86th Annual Academy Awards. The Sunday, March 2 telecast attracted 43 million viewers, making it the most-watched Oscars since 2004 and the most-watched entertainment program since "Friends" series finale on NBC in May 2004.
The viewership grew 6 percent from last year's Oscars hosted by Seth MacFarlane which posted 40.4 million viewers. In the key 18-49 demographic, the show was steady with a 12.9 rating, only slightly below the 13 rating posted by the 2013 gala. The record for the biggest audience ever for the Oscars is still held by the 1998 ceremony which lured 55.3 million people.
In online universe, the show garnered 11.2 million tweets, according to Nielsen's Social Guide. DeGeneres' selfie with some A-list guests, including Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, even crashed Twitter for a while, receiving more than 1 million retweets in less than 1 hour.
Enjoying a boost from the Oscar telecast, the 9th Annual "Jimmy Kimmel Live!: After the Oscars" also grew by double digits in total viewers. The post-Oscar special on ABC drew 7 million viewers, up 22 percent from last year.