Strong start for Oscar telecast in ratings Strong start for Oscar telecast in ratings Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP) The associated Press Comments NEW YORK — Ratings for the Academy Awards telecast in the nation’s biggest television markets are up 7 percent over last year. The Nielsen company said Monday that New York, Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago were the strongest markets for Sunday’s telecast, where “12 Years a Slave” won the Academy Award for best picture. Nielsen’s estimate for how many people actually watched the show was expected later Monday. The Oscars are frequently the second most-watched television program of the year after the Super Bowl, with viewership topping 40 million people last year. Overnight ratings in the nation’s 56 biggest markets are only a partial picture, however, and sometimes not reflective of the country as a whole.