Oscars show reels in viewers in Seth MacFarlane's debut as host

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LOS ANGELES — Seth MacFarlane may have sung about Oscar’s losers, but he wasn’t among them. Sunday’s movie awards ceremony produced its best ratings in years.

An average of 40.3 million viewers tuned in to the live Oscar telecast on ABC, according to Nielsen. The ceremony — hosted by MacFarlane, the creator of TV’s “Family Guy” and director of the movie comedy “Ted” — drew its best numbers since 2010 and were up a modest 2 percent over last year’s show hosted by Billy Crystal. Overall, it was the second most-watched Oscar telecast since 2005.

Officials at ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, have grown increasingly concerned by the steady aging of the show’s audience. The median age of Oscar viewers was once reliably in the 40s, but last year it crept up to nearly 53 — well outside the adults ages 18-to-49 demographic that most advertisers seek.

The choice of MacFarlane represented an effort by Oscar officials to connect with younger viewers, and the strategy appears to have worked. Ratings were up 11 percent among viewers 18 to 49.

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