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ABC, Academy Extend Oscar Telecast Contract Through 2020

ABC Television Network's contract to carry the annual Academy Awards has been extended for six more years, through 2020, according to a Thursday announcement from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group.

The previous agreement for the domestic broadcasts of the Academy Awards was scheduled to expire in 2014. The 83rd Academy Awards air live on Sunday, Feb. 27 and will be the 36th consecutive ceremony to air on ABC.

The announcement comes the same day the Nielsen Co. stated that it expects Sunday's telecast to be one of the most-viewed programs on television of the year. Viewership for other major award shows in 2011 has been up from previous years, potentially fueling further ratings momentum for the Oscar telecast, which in 2010 enjoyed its largest audience in five years with 41.7 million viewers.

"This contract ensures that the Oscar show will be an ABC tradition for 45 consecutive years," said Sherak. "ABC is absolutely the very best place for the Academy Awards, a television event that is beloved and watched by millions of movie lovers all over the world."

"ABC has been home to the Oscars for many years, having aired a total of 46 of the annual telecasts, so we're thrilled to announce that this tradition will continue," said Sweeney. "During that time, we've enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the Academy, pairing the best in movies with the best in television, and look forward to a long and successful collaboration in the years to come."

Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis added: "The Oscars remain the most-watched non-sports program in America, and we're delighted that ABC will continue to be the setting for that jewel. The network has consistently demonstrated an understanding of what makes us unique, and has energetically supported those qualities."