NEW YORK - The Oscars are a ratings dud. Nielsen Media Research says preliminary ratings for the 80th annual Academy Awards telecast are 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever.
Nielsen said Monday that overnight ratings are also 21 percent lower than last year, when "The Departed" was named best picture.
The least-watched Oscars ceremony ever was in 2003, when there were 33 million viewers.
Nielsen has no estimate yet on how many people watched Sunday night, but based on ratings from the nation's biggest markets, the Oscars will be hard-pressed to avoid an ignominious record.
The show had a 21.9 rating and 33 share.