MacFarlane-hosted Oscars show ratings rise

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Actors, from left, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, host Seth MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe perform during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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[Updated 7 PM ET] The 85th Academy Awards had higher ratings than last year with "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane at the helm of ABC's telecast.

This might come as a surprise to those who considered parts of the MacFarlane-hosted telecast, like the "We Saw Your Boobs" medley, in poor taste, or just unfunny -- but according to early data, the 2013 Oscars' numbers are up over last year's, with 40.3 million viewers tuning in to Hollywood's "prom." Then again, it's not a huge jump; the telecast scored a 26.6 rating and a 41 share, a 3 percent increase over last year.

The real news is in the 18-49 demo, though, with the Oscars earning a 13 rating -- that's an 11 percent increase from 2012 among those coveted eyeballs, and a 20 percent jump in the super-coveted 18-34 group. If telecast producers wanted MacFarlane to deliver a younger set of viewers, the plan may have worked.

That, or the 18-49s tuned in based on this year's crop of nominees, which often determines the night's ratings. In 1998, Billy Crystal hosted, and 57.3 million tuned in -- but it's more likely "Titanic," that year's Best Picture, that was responsible for the record numbers. Just ten years later, ratings hit a low, but whether it's thanks to "No Country For Old Men" winning the big prize or Jon Stewart's snarky hosting is hard to say. It's worth noting that six of the nine Best Picture nominees cleared over $100 million at the box office.

ABC's red-carpet numbers went up as well; the star-studded arrivals went up from 4 to 14 percent over the course of the coverage. And those watching were busy on social media; ABC reported that Oscars-related social-media activity rose 68 percent over last year. Between the higher numbers, lots of Tweets, and Jimmy Kimmel's post-show giving the network its highest post-Oscars ratings yet, ABC had a good night.

Elsewhere on the dial, Fox finished second in the ratings with, what do you know, Seth MacFarlane's animated shows in reruns leading to a 1.3 rating. CBS threw out a new episode of "The Amazing Race," which premiered its 22nd season last week; the sophomore episode pulled only a 1.8, a series low. NBC and Univision brought up the rear.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on the numbers, or talk to us in the comments about whether you watched, why you think ratings rose, and your favorite hosts!

Watch Seth MacFarlane's Oscars monologue here:

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