) -- Television ratings for the 83rd Academy Awards show were down 7% from last year, according to Nielsen's preliminary results.

This year's Oscars award ceremony scored a 24.6 household rating in the top 56 markets, Nielsen said, down from last year's 26.5 rating.

The show was hosted by young actor and actress James Franco and Anne Hathaway, in a likely effort by the academy to appeal to a younger audience and increase ratings for


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ABC. But ratings among viewers ages 18 to 49 were down 2% from 2010.

Last year's Academy Awards show, hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, earned its best ratings in five years. Over 41.3 million viewers tuned in to the telecast, up 14% from 36.3 million viewers when Hugh Jackman hosted the show the year before.

Nielsen is expected to report the total number of viewers later Monday.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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