ABC’s shorter, hostless Oscars proved helpful to ratings with the Disney-owned network reporting that 29.6 million people tuned in for the broadcast, a bump from last year's poor showing.
The show ended with a goodnight from actress Julia Roberts at 11:13 p.m. ET, versus after midnight in previous years. That put that show at a relatively lean three hours and 13 minutes, according to ABC.
The show's ratings were up by 3.1 million viewers and 13 percent in the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic compared to 2018, ABC said in a statement.
The network added that it notched 17.7 million social interactions, with social activity also up versus last year when “The Shape of Water” won best picture.
Last year's Oscars hit an all-time low at 26.6 million viewers, declining 19 percent on the 2017 show. As recently as 2014, the Oscars broadcast was attracting 43.7 million people.
The winners were split among popular box office hits, which likely boosted wider interest. The best picture, “Green Book,” from Universal Pictures, took in $144 million at the global box office, according to Boxofficemojo. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” made by 20th Century Fox and focused on the rock band Queen, took four Oscars. Netflix's “Roma,” Disney’s “Black Panther,” and Universal’s “Green Book” each took three awards each.
Ratings have been dismal in recent years, with ABC holding a meeting with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year to address changes they hoped would boost audiences, such as cutting certain awards and reducing the time it takes for winners to get from their seats to the stage.
Lady Gaga picked up her first golden statue, winning for best original song, and her duet with Bradley Cooper on "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born" generated plenty of attention on social media. According to Twitter, Lady Gaga and Cooper were the most tweeted about celebrities of the night thanks to their performance.