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Grammys see less tune-in

'Housewives' hurt kudocast ratings

The 47th annual Grammy Awards on CBS, airing opposite original segs of ABC’s hot series “Desperate Housewives” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” posted the kudocast’s smallest demo ratings in eight years but still won the night for the Eye.

Although the Alphabet heavyweights were one reasonable explanation for the ratings decline, Sunday’s Grammys telecast — whose Nielsens were down more than 25% year-to-year — is just the latest in a string of awards shows to suffer audience erosion. The Golden Globes on NBC in January, for example, dropped a precipitous 40% this year (Daily Variety, Jan. 18).

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the primetime portion of the Grammys averaged an 8.2 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 19.2 million viewers overall, peaking in the 10 o’clock half-hour with an 8.7/20 in the demo.

Based on projections for the 11 o’clock half-hour, Sunday’s 3½-hour show (8-11:30 p.m.) will average roughly 18.8 million viewers overall and an 8.1 rating in adults 18-49 — the lowest scores in both since 1997. Final ratings will be released today.

The Grammys topped ABC head to head at 8 opposite “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (6.8/16 in adults 18-49, 16.6 million viewers overall) and at 10 against “Boston Legal” (5.1/12 in 18-49, 13.6 million), but settled for second place at 9 opposite “Desperate Housewives” (9.6/21 in adults 18-49, 22.1 million), according to Nielsen prelims.

“Housewives” became the first series to outdraw the Grammys head to head since 1995 (ABC’s “Roseanne” and “Ellen”), when the kudocast aired on Wednesday. However, both “Housewives” and “Home Edition” were themselves affected by the Grammys, performing on the lower end of their recent ratings range.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, New York generated a large 18.3 rating/26 share (repping roughly 1.35 million households) and Los Angeles a 15.1/23 (820,000 homes).

On the cable side, E!’s “Live From the Red Carpet” spec (5-8 p.m. ET/PT), featuring Star Jones Reynolds, David Adelson and Kathy Griffin, delivered a metered-market household rating of 1.37, more than doubling TV Guide’s 0.58 rating from 6 to 8.

However, this year’s numbers rep a roughly 40% decline vs. last year for E! (1.4 vs. 2.4 in metered-market households), while TV Guide, led by Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers, more than doubled its perf from a year ago.

Elsewhere Sunday, NBC and Fox were in a tight battle for third place, but both delivered less than half the nightly 18-49 rating of either CBS or ABC.

According to Nielsen prelims, the Peacock was paced by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 13.4 million) and “Crossing Jordan” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12.2 million), Fox by “The Simpsons” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 8.1 million).

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