Ratings for Sunday night's telecast up 4 percent over 2011's show.
By Gil Kaufman
Sometimes "meh" is all you need — especially when you're following up one of the most reviled Oscar hosting teams in recent memory.
That might explain why, despite a night devoid of any major surprises or blockbuster winners, ratings for the 2012 Oscars telecast were up slightly over last year.
According to ABC's preliminary ratings, the Billy Crystal-hosted awards show had a 25.5 rating and 37 share, a 4 percent increase over the 2011 show, which famously bombed thanks to the lack of chemistry between hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Crystal's safe-as-milk ninth go-round as host earned the veteran comedian mostly tepid to negative reviews, but it was enough to boost the big night to one of its best ratings nights since 2007, when the show put up a 27.7 rating and 42 share.
The highest-ever Oscar ratings came in 1998, when the global blockbuster "Titanic" helped draw in more than 55 million viewers.
Ratings might have been even higher if any of the most-nominated movies had posted solid box-office figures as well. But between them, the leading winners, "The Artist" and "Hugo," which both reveled in a nostalgic look back at the dawn of the modern movie era, have grossed just over $100 million combined to date. To put that in perspective, popcorn flick "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which was blanked in three technical categories, brought in nearly that much in its opening weekend.
More complete ratings numbers are expected later in the day on Monday (February 27).