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All-time low for Oscars

ABC's Academy Awards telecast Sunday night delivered an all-time-low
household Nielsen Media Research rating -- a 25.4 with a 42 share of audience
(two share points better than last year).

Part of the problem, researchers said, is that the show was terribly long --
it went to about 12:45 a.m., and ABC sold commercials almost to the bitter

In last year's show, the last national commercial aired at about 11:30 p.m.,
which, for ratings purposes, is when any program ends.

An ABC spokesman, groping for positives, noted that due to population growth,
this year's telecast actually reached 3,000 more homes than last year. And in
the larger markets, viewership actually grew this year to a 30.7 household
rating and a 46 share in the metered markets, up 3 percent from last year.

The metered markets account for more than 68 percent of U.S. TV