Despite deteriorating ratings in recent years, next February's Oscar telecast commands the same price for a 30-second commercial as it did a year ago, about $1.6-1.7 million, according to Advertising Age , which cited "a person familiar with the tone of negotiations." This year's Oscarcast attracted 37.9 million viewers, down from 41.7 million tuned last year. While those figures are well off the 55 million who watched the awards show in 1998, when Titanic won the best picture trophy, the awards show remains the second-highest rated telecast of the year, behind the Super Bowl. Moreover, as a live telecast, it doesn't have to be concerned about DVR users fast-forwarding through commercials. AdAge said that the pricing was locked in weeks ago, before the recent scandal involving co-producer Brett Ratner, which saw the departure of Ratner and Eddie Murphy. However, the unexpected consequence of that fiasco -- the return of Billy Crystal as host -- is likely to boost viewership this year.