04/01/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

Without "Titanic" the Oscar telecast sank in the ratings. Sunday night's telecast drew a 32 rating and 49 share, according to Nielsen Media Research's overnight estimate of 44 top media markets. That's a 21% drop from the comparable ratings in 1998, when the blockbuster "Titanic" dominated the awards. (And even a 4% drop from 1997, when the relatively unknown "English Patient" was the winner.) An estimated 70 million Americans watched some or all of the longest Academy Awards show ever, said Larry Hyams of ABC. Last year the total was 87 million. The network had hoped that moving the Oscar telecast from Monday to Sunday night would give the ratings a boost, but that appeared to make little difference.

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