(Xinhua)Preliminary numbers released Monday showed that ratings for the 81st Academy Award show overnight climbed about six percent from last year’s record low.

The ABC-produced Oscar telecast show, where British director Dan Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ took eight statuettes including best picture, probably had an average viewership of more than 34 million across the United States, according to a market research firm.

Preliminary numbers from Nielsen Media Research, which measure roughly 50 of the biggest markets in the U.S., showed that New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were among the markets where most households tuned in to watch the film industry’s annual gala show.

Although total viewer estimates are expected to be issued later in the day, it is a good bet that this year’s Oscar show will rise comfortably ahead of last year’s all-time low. About 32 million U.S. viewers watched the show last year.

Last year’s record-low ratings prompted organizers to change their traditional format to hand out the awards and present more dance-and-song performances during the ceremony hosted by Australian actor Hugh Jackman.