CBS kudocast ratings conquer tough competish

Heightened interest in Wednesday’s controversial Eminem/Elton John appearance helped the Grammys on CBS match last year’s strong ratings performance despite facing tougher competish on the other nets. In some demos, the show hit eight-year highs.

The onstage pairing of the acclaimed but vilified rapper and the legendary rocker occurred in the final 10 minutes of the show, keeping viewing levels at near-peak levels at a time when awards shows typically fall off. That boosted the overall averages for this year’s kudocast, which had to fend off especially tough competish in the 9 p.m. hour from Fox’s “Temptation Island” and NBC’s “The West Wing.”

According to Nielsen, CBS won the night by all measures, including total viewers (26.65), adults 18-49 (12.6/30), adults 25-54 (12.2/27), adults 18-34 (13.5/34) and teens (13.4/41). This year’s show was down year to year in viewers by 4% but ranks as the second most-watched Grammycast since 1993; the 18-49 rating matches last year’s as the highest since that same year.

This year’s score in adults 18-34 (13.5/34) is Grammy’s best since ’93, while its teens share (41) is again the best in eight years.

In households, this year’s 16.7/26 rating is also the second best in eight years, behind only last year’s 17.3/27. Top score in Nielsen’s metered markets came from Los Angeles (26.1/37), where the show was held.

CBS’ 12.6 nightly rating in adults 18-49 is the best for any net on any night (except for the Super Bowl) since NBC delivered a 12.7 on a Thursday in November, and the best for CBS since last year’s Aug. 23 finale of “Survivor” (21.3).

The Grammys took a demo dip in the middle hour, falling to a 27 share in adults 18-49 after opening with a 31 share. This year, the combined ABC/NBC/Fox 18-49 average for the 9 o’clock hour (16.7/37) easily topped the Grammys (12.5/27), while a year ago the music kudocast bested the other nets combined (13.5/31 to 13.3/30).

As expected, “Temptation Island” fell to its lowest numbers to date (12.88 million, 7.2/16 in A18-49), but the reality show’s strong second-place finish in demos helped Fox finish as runner-up on a tough night. Net finished 16 shares behind CBS in 18-49 (5.9/14 to 12.6/30) and 18-34 (7.4/18 to 13.5/34), but improved vs. the same night last year by 74% and 88%, respectively.

NBC placed second on the night in both total viewers (14.4 million) and adults 25-54 (6.8/15) and third in adults 18-49 (5.1/12) — up vs. last year in the latter by 42%. Peacock’s “West Wing” delivered one of its lowest scores of the season in 18-49 (5.6/12), but that’s a 51% improvement over last year opposite the Grammys.

ABC was squeezed out by the night’s ultratough competition, with its fourth-place 18-49 rating (3.7/9) falling 40% off last year’s pace (6.2/15) — when “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was scorching hot and provided the Grammys with its strongest young adult competition.

Sweeps standing

With the Eye easily topping the Alphabet on the night, CBS enters the final week of the February sweep in third place in the key demo of 18-49 — a tick ahead of ABC, which won last year. The Alphabet will need strong scores from its four-hour Judy Garland mini and the final two hours of “The Mole” to avoid a first-to-fourth fall.

ABC could move up to second in total viewers, but it appears now that CBS has the month’s crown locked up. A year ago, ABC dominated the month and CBS finished third.

NBC maintained its comfortable but not insurmountable advantage over Fox in adults 18-49 heading into the final week. The Peacock leads through 21 nights with a 5.5 rating/14 share (down 4% in rating vs. a year ago), followed by Fox, 5.1/13 (up 6%); CBS, 4.5/12 (up 10%); ABC, 4.4/11 (down 25%); the WB, 1.7/4 (up 13%); and UPN, 1.5/4 (down 12%).

In total viewers, CBS is on top with 14.0 million (up 4%), followed by NBC, 12.8m (down 6%); ABC, 12.5m (down 19%); Fox, 10.5m (up 4%); the WB, 3.9m (even); and UPN, 3.7m (down 13%).

In other races, NBC leads in adults 25-54 (6.3/15), with CBS second (5.6/13), while Fox has the edge in adults 18-34 (5.3/15) and NBC is second (5.0/14).

The WB is the net showing the biggest gain in its target demo, up 19% in adults 18-34.

Second only to Oscars

The Grammys again rank as the second-most-watched kudocast of the past 12 months, behind only the Academy Awards on ABC (46.3 million last year).

The Grammys also have begun to put some ratings distance between themselves and January’s music kudocast rival on ABC, the American Music Awards. This year, the Grammys topped the AMAs by 65% in total viewers (26.7 million to 16.2 million) and by 73% in adults 18-49 (12.6/30 to 7.3/17).

The E! Entertainment cabler saw big gains by adding Joan Rivers to its two-hour Grammy preshow. According to prelim Nielsens, this year’s special was seen in 550,000 households — more than twice the 139,000 households a year ago but about one-third the number the net attracted for its Golden Globes preshow last month.

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