The 91st Academy Awards telecast rebounded from a four-year slump to record 29.6 million viewers this time around, an 11 percent rise from 2018's all-time low, ABC said on Monday.
The increase is welcome news for organizers who stumbled through a series of headline-grabbing missteps in the run-up to the show, including backtracking on a best popular film category and pulling the plug on a host for the first time in three decades.
The hostless and shortened format appear to have pleased viewers, with the 200-minute show broadcast by ABC the most-watched entertainment telecast in two years, ABC said in a statement.
"Year to year, 'The Oscars' audience surged by 3.1 million viewers (29.6 million vs. 26.5 million) and jumped 13 percent in adults 18-49 (7.7 rating vs. 6.8 rating)," ABC said, quoting data from the Nielsen Company.
It added that the show had dominated social media Sunday night with 17.7 million interactions, the majority on Twitter (75 percent), followed by Instagram and Facebook.
Apart from a shortened broadcast and a change in format, entertainment experts attribute the rise in viewership this year to the presence of blockbusters and performances by the iconic band Queen and Lady Gaga.