NEW YORK - An estimated 43 million people watched the Academy Awards, the most-watched audience for the show in a decade and most popular entertainment event on television since the "Friends" finale in 2004.
The Nielsen company said Monday that Oscar viewership was up for the third straight year and is considered yet another example of how social media is helping to drive up the ratings for big television events. The Oscars last year were seen by 40.4 million people.
Ellen DeGeneres was host of the Academy Awards for a second time, replacing the edgy Seth MacFarlane, who had the job last year.
The Oscars, which aired Sunday, are usually the second most-watched television program of the year in the United States, after the Super Bowl.